“Don’t Waste Your Time Defending Your Dreams Against Someone’s Fears.”; Interview with Ivelina Atanasova — Genchev, Founder of DigitalKidZ
This is part of the EdTech Female Founder (#EFF) interview series brought to you by SuperCharger Ventures.
What inspired you to start your EdTech Founder journey?
It was my son. When he started school I realized that all my business & marketing background as senior strategist helps me understand his learning challenges better and motivated me to create a tailor-made training program, based on digital innovations, in order to overcome these challenges and improve his learning motivation.
Describe your company in one sentence.
DigitalKidZ supports children in learning basic digital skills through storytelling and play.
What should an aspiring EdTech founder know before initiating their startup journey?
Don’t waste your time (and energies) defending your dreams against someone’s fears.
What has been the most difficult moment as a founder and how did you overcome it?
We launched in Bulgaria as an NGO, within the first six years the primary market of DigitalKidZ was local. Meanwhile, digital literacy of the Bulgarian population is the lowest in the EU. 80% of teachers are not motivated to adopt any innovations nor new teaching methodologies in their classrooms, because it’s expected to be retired in less than 5 years.In addition, the duration of the average term of the local ministry of education is 2 years.
This makes it impossible to build and maintain any sustainable partnership and there is no state strategy about education transformation, which reflects negativively the value proposition of DigitalKidZ. To solve this, we organised 8 TechEdu conferences visited by 3500+ people and built brand community in less than 4 years in order to raise awareness and nurture the market.
What can the EdTech industry do to improve the gender gap?
Encourage girls and boys to take up ICT related education and be able to adapt to the needs of the digital age
Can you tell us about a role model of yours?
The women in my family — my mother, my aunt, my grandmother who raised their children alone and desired to dream big.
Can you tell us an example of when you had to pivot?
We launched as an NGO and then had to transform into a start-up. DigitalKidZ was focused initially on delivering services — trainings and TechEdu conferences. Seven years later, our know-how is integrated in innovative products. Now we’re not in the training business but we’re delivering products that support the training and extracurricular activities’ business.
What will you consider as success in 5 years from now?
Being a global company, which exits to LEGO.
Looking back, what advice would you have liked to have received before starting your company?
Don’t waste your time reselling others’ products, focus on your desires and dream big, you have the know-how and experience to do great.
Anything else You’d like to share?
Being a co-founder of Women in Tech — Bulgaria and a senior digital marketing strategist, I dedicated my personal mission to integrate more women into the ICT sector, inspiring and supporting entrepreneurship and their leadership careers and I do believe that the quality education in STEM since the very young age is crucial to do so. This is my WHY I believe so much in DigitalKidZ.