Web site of Department of Software Engineering of Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics at Sofia University

Technology entrepreneurship and innovations in IT

Courses' annotations

Compulsory Courses

Technology entrepreneurship

Lecturer:  Prof. Mark Harris, Assoc. Prof. Petko Ruskov, Assist. Prof. Sia Tsolova, Assistant George Kadrev
Hours: 30 acad. hours lectures + 30 acad. hours exercises  
Credits: 7.5

This is the core course of the master program. The aim is to facilitate students develop competences in the field of entrepreneurial thinking and design, innovation and technological entrepreneurship. The course goes from theory to practice. It supports students to acquire knowledge, skills and attitude in starting their own business or innovating existing business initiatives. It gives students the knowledge and skills to create, organize and manage their own businesses. The course is based on the program of the University of Berkeley in cooperation with the company Intel. Students form their teams and work on ideas for startup creation and resource acquiring for founding of technology company. They also become familiar with the basics of open and distruptive innovation, company, technology and industry life-cycles, adding value to technology, marketing and management of the company, lean startup. They develop and discuss their own dehydrated business plan.
During the course students will acquire and develop also practical experience of setting up and running a startup company. They will start to produce and implement a specific product or service based on their chosen activity. In this way they will develop, test and apply a particular business model. Teachers and counselors support students participation in national and international competitions in the field of innovation and technological entrepreneurship.

Innovation and Innovation Management

Lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Stoyan Tanev, Assoc. Prof. Lydia Galabova, Assistant Dimcho Dimov
Hours: 30 acad. hours lectures + 30 Acad. hours exercises
Credits: 7.5

The aim of the course "Innovation management in IT" is to present the fundamentals, stages and methods for innovation management combining both theory and practice. Innovations are the engine of the modern economy, and the companies' capacity to launch new products and services is one of the major factors for their further success and sustainable development.
Course "Innovation Management" has three parts. The first part focuses on introducing some of the basic concepts, frameworks and theories of technological change and evolution of the industry, including: technological and industrial life cycles, technological gaps, paradigms and processes; emergence of dominant designs; dependencies and network effects; drilling theory of innovation. In the second part it applies the knowledge acquired in the first part in the implementation of existing theories and frameworks of analysis of changes in the industry as technology, pattern recognition, including 1) identifying early signals of technological change, 2) analyses of the potential of competitive opportunities based on the affect on the emergence and adoption of new technologies, 3) analyses of strategic solutions for companies affected by the current technological changes and \ or industrial evolution, and 4) analyses of non-market forces, technological development and change by government regulation, standardization. The third part focuses on the introduction of scientific methods and analysis tools of technology. This final section will give students the opportunity to perform analyses of technologies and their changes over time.

Strategic Management

Lecturer: Assist. Prof. Sia Tsolova
Hours: 30 acad. hours lectures + 30 Acad. hours exercises
Credits: 5

The main objective of the course "Strategic Management" is to introduce students to basic approaches to strategic business management and the differences between strategic and operational management. It introduces to students the basic stages and tools in strategic management, the differences between strategic management of startup and existing companies. Students will acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes to build the vision, mission, strategic objectives and strategy of the company. They will be able tomanage the process of strategic management in all its stages – philosophical values, strategic research and analysis, strategy formulation, preparation for implementation, strategy execution, control and evaluation.
Students work on the strategic management of their own business ideas in teams during the learning process.  They will apply numerous innovative methodologies and practical tools of strategic management and they will become familiar with the software system of Balanced Scorecard as a tool for effective strategic management for existing companies. The course introduces Lafley and Martin’s model for strategic management of startup companies and innovative strategic categorization models based on Korean experience. It supports the improvement the strategies part in the students’ business plans.

Technological Entrepreneurship in Information Technology

Lecturer:  Prof. Mark Harris, Assoc. Prof. Petko Ruskov, Assist. Prof. Sia Tsolova, Assistant George Kadrev
Hours: 30 acad. hours lectures + 30 acad. hours exercises
Credits: 7.5

The course is a continuation of “Technology Entrepreneurship”. The aim is upgrade and further develop the competences of the students in the field of technological entrepreneurship. The course is also adapted on program of the University of Berkeley in cooperation with the company Intel. It refines the essential moments in the creation, organization and management of a startup company. Students upgrade their competences continuing with customer development model and business modeling and planning. They discuss and verify the opportunities and resource providing experience for technological company. The basic experience is on the ICT company, but also includes clean and health technologies.
During the training, students will develop and practical experience of creation and operation of an IT company, will produce and implement specific product or service based on their chosen topic. They will develop and assess a particular business model and business plan. Teachers and mentors will encourage them to participate in national and international competitions in the field of innovation and technological entrepreneurship.

Financial management and venture capital

Lecturer: Prof. Jerry Engl, Dr. Radostina Ruseva
Hours: 30 acad. hours lectures + 30 acad. hours exercises
Credits: 7.5

The aim of the course "Financial management and Venture Capital" is to introduce the fundamentals of the financial management of the start-up companies and to emphasize on the financial decisions concerning initial stage of the company launch. Some of the major topics discussed include: financial analyses, financial forecasts, strategic financial management, and development of strategic and operating financial plans. In the second part of the course, there will be presented the mechanisms for finding external financing, functions and roles of the major players on the financial system as banks and bank system, financial markets, VCs and financial instruments supporting high-tech companies. The students will learn more about start-up financing on IPO and financial markets, VCs funds financing, bank instruments and other financial sources.
To achieve the objective to introduce and discuss the concepts of value, cost, investment, venture capital in the narrow and broad sense, and accompanying institutional products. To develop competence in this area are considered popular cases for financing young companies in the IT, paying particular attention to the practical skills to identify investment needs. For this purpose described and exercised the most popular methods for establishing the value of the company. They analyze various sources of funding, such as those matched to the parameters of the startup. The course contributes to improving the financial part of the business plan.

Elective courses

Organizational behavior

Lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Georgi Kalushev, Krasimir Dimitrov
Hours: 30 acad. hours lectures + 30 acad. hours exercises
Credits: 5
The aim of the “Organizational Behaviour” course is to involve students with the main problems of human interaction in organizations and the approaches and means of analyzing them as well as generating effective solutions. These problems manifest themselves on individual, group and organizational levels and their proper understanding requires a combination of knowledge and techniques from the subject areas of psychology, sociology and organization theory. By the end of the course the students should have a good working knowledge of concepts and applications related to motivation, group/team dynamics, leadership, and organizational culture, among others from a methodological point of views, an important emphasis of the course is the encouragement and development of team work skills.

Life as an entrepreneur - 1

Lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Petko Ruskov, Assist. Prof. Sia Tsolova, Assistant George Kadrev, Todor Sarakchiev,  Dr. Boyan Yankov, Milena Stoycheva, Ivaylo Hristov
Hours: 15 acad. hours lectures + 45 acad. hours exercises
Credits: 5

The aim of the course "Life as an entrepreneur - 1" is to demonstrate to students the life cycle and practice of entrepreneurship, to discuss with successful entrepreneurs the basic characteristics and practices to start and manage their own business and the specifics of entrepreneurial behavior. Prominent entrepreneurs will be invited as guest speakers in each lecture and they will share and discuss experience and challenges with the students. Students will analyze and discuss cases and lessons learned from the failed practices of entrepreneurs from the companies, as well as their management approaches and practices to achieve real financial results.

Business Process Management

Lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Petko Ruskov
Hours: 30 acad. hours lectures + 30 Acad. hours exercises
Credits: 5

In today's dynamic business environment, customer needs, competition, globalization, and technology have combined to produce a powerful effect on the process of delivering goods and services to the marketplace. In order to succeed, manufacturing and service process analysts must be able to understand business decisions as well as technology decisions. Increasingly, businesses are seeing themselves as collections of processes of various types. Students are ideally suited to capitalize on this approach to business. They are active learners, knowledgeable about current technology, and capable of high performance with the goals of supporting:

  • The enhancement of business performance using technology;
  • The integrated flow of materials/paperwork in manufacturing and service operations;
  • Modeling and process analysis techniques for better business decision making.

The aim of the course "Business Process Management" is to introduce to students the knowledge and skills of organization and the principles of construction and use of innovative business processes and business models and inspect and to acquire the basic standards, concepts, products and services offered by leading companies.
The course is designed to introduce students to the ecosystem and the life cycle of business processes - why, what and how management and business process modeling service organizations in the course introduces the fundamentals and theoretical modeling and managing business processes. Used serious business game. After mastering topics students will acquire skills for managing business processes and their innovations. To absorb the material using modern technical means for active learning - teaching computer courses and laboratories of existing systems. The main topics are studied innovative achievements in the field of information systems, which will allow students to monitor new and current issues and after completion of the course and improve processes in organizations. The course will allow to students to acquire competences on the fundamental business process definition, modeling, analysis, integrate, monitoring and reporting knowledge and skills. It will leverage management capabilities for process improvement. After completing they will be able to quickly and proactively deal with market changes, customer needs and competitive threats.
The course has been designed to match any level of knowledge – starting with the basics and advancing into complex subject matter areas.

e-Governance Fundamentals

Lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Kamen Spassov, Assist. Prof. Boyan Zhekov, Hristo Traikov
Hours: 30 acad. hours lectures + 30 Acad. hours exercises
Credits: 5

Lately good governance principles gain growing popularity among the publicly discussed topics. The issue about the increasing opportunities for application of current information and communication technologies in the economical, political and social sphere at national and multinational level is also up-to-date. Notwithstanding the variety of the topics under consideration, at the core of most of them stands the "management" issue and the issue about the capability of solving governance problems which affect the interest of many and different stakeholders.
The objective of the "e-Governance Fundamentals" course is:

  • to introduce the important management and governance issues, because exactly these exercise significant influence on the social, personal and professional growth of each of us;
  • to prove the fact that the governance of the state is not only an obligation and responsibility of the politics and the state leaders;
  • to demonstrate the role and the place of every subject, participating in the public and social relations, the opportunities for exercising control and placing mutual expectations and requirements;
  • to point out the opportunities for active participation and involvement of each citizen or business in the regulation of State's decisions, actions and activities;
  • to demonstrate that the quality of the management process and the basic management functions can be significantly improved through the use of the latest technical and scientific accomplishments.

Methods to support creative thinking in the innovation process

Lecturer: Prof. Matteo Bonifacio, Assoc. Prof. Stanislav Dimkov
Hours: 30 acad. hours lectures + 30 Acad. hours exercises
Credits: 5

The aim of the course is to involve students with the specifics of starting the most unstructured phase of the innovation process - pre-design/creative phase. It presents the modern methods to support individual, team and organizational creativity. The information obtained and practical excercises will help students to accelerate the process of creative solutions to problems and unstructured tasks.
The lectures are based on significant resources of proven international experts. It covers all widely applied methods in the world practice. The issues are selected according to the needs of people implementing innovations.
The seminars are strictly practical. These exercises are considered the most common practical methods to maintain the creative process in the initial phase of the innovation process. Each method is illustrated with concrete examples or case studies. It is followed by discussion of the applicability of each method in applying innovations in modern software practices.
At the end of the course each student develops practical coursework. The coursework is focused on the application of freely chosen existing method to maintain the creative process in the initial phase of the innovation process. It is envisaged that achieved in the course work is an important part of the assessment of student discipline.

Entrepreneurship "Student Company – JA Program"

Lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Petko Ruskov, Assist. Prof. Sia Tsolova, Assistant George Kadrev, Todor Sarakchiev, Elica Efremova, Milena Stoycheva
Hours: 30 acad. hours lectures + 30 Acad. hours exercises
Credits: 5

The purpose of the practical course "Student Company" is to introduce students with the basics of entrepreneurship in order to build skills for starting their own business. In theory classes will present the main features for organization and management of real student company.
The lectures will present the key points in practice: creating, organizing and managing training company and related regulations in the country. Students get acquainted with the possibilities of starting their own business and its resource support and the basics of startup management.
In the process of training students get practical experience in the creation, management and operation of a startup offering a particular product or service based on their chosen activity. During the course students work in teams and develop business administrative and business documents according the Bulgarian legislation. The particiate at a JA National Entrepreneurship Competition at the end of the course with the developed by them business plan, product or service.

Customer Relationship Management

Lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Kamen Spassov
Hours: 30 acad. hours lectures + 30 Acad. hours exercises
Credits: 5

Customer relationship management comprise a pool of knowledge, practices and technologies, allowing the organization to achieve its purposes while identifying, acquiring, serving and retaining the clients. The course presents methods and techniques for acquisition and use of clients' information from various sources within and outside the company. Discussed different points of view are discussed – demographics, historical, cultural, as well as different customer behaviors, helping the company to improve its CRM practices. Call centers and contact centers are presented and discussed as well. The purpose of the discipline is to acquire basic competences for CRM, its standards, concepts and best practices. The CRM approach is fundamental for effective technology entrepreneurship and is of big value for the start-up companies. During the course the technology used to apply all theoretical knowledge in practice is software tool: Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Life as an entrepreneur - 2

Lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Petko Ruskov, Assist. Prof. Sia Tsolova, Assistant George Kadrev, Todor Sarakchiev, Dr. Boyan Yankov, Milena Stoycheva, Ivaylo Hristov
Hours: 15 acad. hours lectures + 45 Acad. hours exercises
Credits: 5

The course "Life as an entrepreneur - 2" is the continuation of course "Life as an entrepreneur - 1". It grows and expands the competences of students on the life cycle of entrepreneurship, deepen and discuss the specifics and practices in entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial behavior. During the lectures entrepreneurs will share their experience on the different exit strategies. The lectures will continue to invite prominent entrepreneurs who will share and discuss their specific experience and challenges with the students.
Students will deepen their analysis and discussions with leading entrepreneurs and mentors from different spheres and topics on management approaches and practices leading to real financial result. In the process of training students will share and expand practical experience and leadership skills guided by top entrepreneurs.

Legal aspects in technological entrepreneurship

Lecturer:  Prof. Georgi Dimitrov, Aleksandra Tsvetkova, Todor Sarakchiev
Hours: 30 acad. hours lectures + 30 Acad. hours exercises
Credits: 5

The use of information technologies in modern life brings changes and introduces new models of doing business and commerce. The electronic means of communication offer simplified and more direct ways of demand and supply, of contracting and payment via Internet. Nevertheless, the legal problems existing in the commercial transactions outside Internet remain valid in doing e-commerce via Internet. Therefore, it is necessary for the companies, as well as for the citizens to be acquainted with the specificity of contracting on Internet.
The present course aims to involve students with basic legal definitions and problems related to e-commerce and e-world. It is adapted to the background of the students: Each one of the lectures shall begin with brief introduction and presentation of a basic legal definition (e.g. jurisdiction; contracting; intellectual property rights – copyright, trademarks; data protection, etc.), after that it shall focus on particular, specific for the Internet environment problems such as how to determine jurisdiction on Internet; at which moment the contract is deemed concluded; how the intellectual property rights are protected on Internet; who can have access and who can disseminate the personal data gathered on Internet, etc.). A special focus is put on the difficulties and challenges in the regulation of the commercial transactions in the Internet environment, arising mainly because of the lack of the well-known physical parameters such as place of concluding the contract, place of performance, identification of the contracting parties, etc., combined with the free access to the global market via the “net” where no state borders exist, and, therefore, there is no clearly defined jurisdiction. In that connection, during every lecture, examples, related to the regulation of e-commerce in Bulgaria and in the Member States of the EU, shall be given.
After each of the lectures, the students shall be recommended additional literature to read and cases, related to a specific topic, which shall serve as a basis for the preparation of the exercises.
The exercises aim to present to the students how in practice the e-commerce is done through discussions of real cases. Each of the students shall prepare a presentation on a topic chosen by him.

Technology transfer and commercialization of technology

Lecturer: Prof. Andrew Choi, Assoc. Prof. Petko Ruskov, Assist. Prof. Sia Tsolova
Hours: 30 acad. hours lectures + 30 Acad. hours exercises
Credits: 7.5

The aim of the course is to introduce theoretical knowledge and practical skills on innovative transformation of scientific and technological results in commercial products and services. Students, organized in teams, will evaluate the actual technologies and their commercial potential. Students will study and exercise the basic concepts related to technology and commercialization. It will introduce practices to improve and accelerate the process of commercialization - from decisions taken by scientists in laboratories through the development, patenting and licensing of new technologies to the formation of startups. The main objectives are:

1. To understand the basic concepts and capabilities in technology commercialization.
2. To understand how to evaluate technologies for their potential for commercialization.
3. To understand the stages technology taken from the lab to the market.
4. To examine the role of intellectual property protection and licensing.

The course is conducted based on the Korean experience in technology transfer and technology commercialization. It will be implemented with the involvement of experts and practitioners on technology commercialization. The studies will include actual practice for commercialization in areas such as information technology, biotechnology, alternative energy and nanotechnology. It will discuss real problems for commercialization of technologies of leading companies.
The course is designed for students who are interested in the transfer of research in business and who are interested in a career in management of intellectual property or start-ups.

Marketing Management

Lecturer: Assist. Prof. Sia Tsolova
Hours: 30 acad. hours lectures + 30 Acad. hours exercises
Credits: 5

The purpose of the course "Marketing Management" is to introduce students to the main marketing processes, strategies, and approaches for launching of new products and services on a competitive market. The course presents the basic stages in marketing management and the elements of marketing mix. The course will enable students to identify, evaluate and develop marketing strategies for introduction of new products and services, to assess environment opportunities to create sustainable competitive advantages.
Students will be introduced as well with methods for new products launching, processes of innovation and work with clients, market evaluation, pricing, distribution network development and logistics, marketing strategies and business models in IT.
This discipline clarifies key marketing concepts, methods and strategic issues that are directly related to start-up ventures or those in the early stages of their creation. The course covers two main questions:

  • Marketing question: what, how and who will accept the offer?
  • Entrepreneurial question: How to manage marketing resources?

Practical course covers theoretical knowledge and practical skills necessary to develop a marketing plan and marketing campaigns. During the course students work in team and at the end of the course they develop a marketing plan for a startup venture, as well as a full marketing campaign.

The economic way of thinking

Lecturer: Dr. Annie-Marie Vilamovska, Assoc. Prof. Petko Ruskov
Hours: 30 acad. hours lectures + 30 Acad. hours exercises
Credits: 5

The aim of the course "Economic way of thinking" is to introduce and explain the basic principles of micro- and macroeconomic analysis and planning by showing students methods of reasoning justified by the economic way of thinking. To reach the goals the course introduces techniques and methods how to apply these principles with existing tools. The course exposes students to the methods of reasoning of economic thinking through examples and also shows them the typical mistakes in popular economic practices. During the training, students will gain practical experience with economic methods and processes. 

Development of pre-graduation course project

Lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Petko Ruskov, Assist. Prof. Sia Tsolova
Hours: 30 acad. hours lectures + 30 acad. hours exercises + 30 sem.hours exercises
Credits: 15

The course aims to support the students' choice, preparation, development and defence of their Master Thesis. The course follows the process approach and its main research thesis stages. Topics of the course will present and provide opportunities, methods and techniques for searching and finding information needed for successful development of the graduation thesis . Special attention will be paid to the transfer of new technologies and the commercialization of research in students and their mentors work.
Through practical exercises and teamwork students will expand their ideas and acquire skills and habits to develop a science project. Upon successful completion of the course they will have the competence to successfully develop and defend a master thesis in the field of information technology and innovations in ICT. 

Teaching practice and coursework

Pre-graduation course project

Credits: 15


Credits: 15 


MSc Thesis defense

Credits: 15

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