One of the challenges facing Europe is developing education for entrepreneurs. And in Bulgaria, for some years now they have been training young people to create and protect their brands at European level. It’s a real success story.
For example, for the past year students at the Academy of Arts in Sofia, who are 16 to 18 years old, have been producing and selling scarves. They are taking part in the Brandiko project, set up by the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy, meaning they have been supported throughout the whole process of establishing a brand on the market. They have also been able to protect their brand using the Community Trade Mark, which ensures brand protection throughout the entire single market.
One of them Severina Eneva, said: “The project taught me how to create an interesting logo and brand name and how to protect intellectual property.”
Another, Joanna Brayanova, said: “Since artists are usually individualists, for me the most important thing was to learn to work in a team.”
And a third one, Maria Stoyanova, commented, “Now I’d like to establish my own company with a brand and a logo which I already learned how to protect.”
These students were trained by a teacher, Elizar Milev, who received specific training as part of the project. The students created an original brand, and the tools to market their products and entered various enterprise competitions. The course in entrepreneurship is very important for art school students because they need to learn how to sell artistic skills.
The project has just won the European Enterprise Promotion Award 2014 in the category Investing in entrepreneurial skills. The prize has thrown the spotlight onto projects encouraging the creation of more than 10,000 SMEs (Small and Medium Sized enterprises) in Europe since 2006. Over the past four years, Brandiko has benefited 1,700 students in around 140 training companies.
IIvaylo Grancharov, the creator of the Brandiko project, is the Head of the SME policy department at the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy: “If you want to be original on the market, so that people recognize you, first you need a good quality product, and then you have to construct your brand. And one day, you hope that the brand will work for you and increase your sales, just because it’s a solid brand.”
Brandiko is being used in art schools as well as secondary schools and from next year, in sports schools too. Since the creation of Brandiko, the number of Community Trade Marks has risen in Bulgaria.
IIvaylo Grancharov said: “Having a Community Trade Mark is important because with a single trade mark registration, you can protect your intellectual property across the entire single market, which is why we use it in Brandiko, to make young people aware of this opportunity for when they become entrepreneurs in the future.”
For the at school students, the keys to success are clear: a strong entrepreneurial spirit, a good quality product, and of course, solid branding.”