Todor Raykov’s journey from Bulgaria to Philadelphia, where he is one of two Fulbright Scholars studying at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, began in 2007 with a blog post he sent out into the then incipient Bulgarian blogosphere. The post discussed political apathy among Bulgarian youth and gained widespread attention. The response inspired Raykov to write more articles on what he describes as “the gloomy future before the young generation of Bulgarians” and suggests steps young people can take to improve their prospects.
Raykov’s writing gained the attention of Teodor Dechev, Bulgaria’s former deputy minister of labor and social policy, who invited Raykov to join the Union for Private Economic Enterprise – the first employers’ organization formed after the fall of communism in Bulgaria.
“My stay there changed profoundly not only my professional but also my personal goals,” Raykov said. “The interaction with successful entrepreneurs triggered in me the desire to start my own business and help others do the same.”
Raykov began working with other young entrepreneurs and realized he had much to learn. Wanting to find a “radically different perspective of doing business in order to come up with ideas that could have a significant impact on the Bulgarian economy” and entrepreneurial community, he decided to look for graduate programs in the United States. The Fox School’s growing international reputation, renowned faculty and ideal location attracted Raykov to the school’s Master of Science in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship (IME) program.
So far, Raykov is thriving as an IME student. He was named a finalist in the recent Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI)’s Innovative Idea Competition, and he plans to participate in IEI’s Be Your Own Boss Bowl® in 2014.
Raykov continues to receive recognition for his thought-provoking writing. Recently his essay on the difficulties young Bulgarian entrepreneurs face in a post-communist environment won first place in the entrepreneurship and innovation category of the Center for International Private Enterprise’s (CIPE) International Youth Essay Competition.
“I believe that my work in the IME program equips me with the necessary knowledge and expertise to solve some of the problems that I address in my essay,” he said. “Namely, how to create successful businesses, expand them globally and help stabilize the Bulgarian economy.”
After earning his IME master’s degree, Raykov hopes to continue studying in North America and to pursue a PhD in business management. Eventually he hopes to establish an entrepreneurship institute in Bulgaria.