Minister of Innovation
Milena Stoycheva is a Crazy Dreamer and Fire Starter, a.k.a. CEO of JA Bulgaria (until June 7, 2023) and Co-founder of its spin-off company The Edge: R&BD. She teaches Innovation and Entrepreneurship as a Visiting Professor with the EIT Digital Master School.
Entrepreneur and educator, she is passionate about education and creating opportunities for young people to develop their talents and discover their future as entrepreneurs. In the pursuit of this mission, she engages diverse stakeholders to build ecosystems that make positive change sustainable. She is the recipient of the highest individual award for global leadership of JA Worldwide “Soraya Salti” for 2021 in recognition of making societal impact through economic empowerment and also the Women’s Leadership Award of the US Embassy in Bulgaria.
Milena is an executive with more than 20 years of experience in international organizations and companies, who has also served as the Chair of the Global Member Council of JA Worldwide and Senior Adviser for Higher Education of JA Europe.
She was the first Dean of Students of the American University in Bulgaria following its establishment in 1991. Additionally, to having a few of her own ventures, she has served on the entrepreneurship and science core group of Intel Education Team in Europe; worked for a while as a journalist with AP television; as well as mentored and coached teams in different training programs and accelerators on business development and technology entrepreneurship.
She is a member of the steering committee of the European Women Founders Group and works actively to advance the role of women entrepreneurs in creating diverse and sustainable innovation ecosystems.
Milena is the Chair of the Digital Health and Innovation Cluster and serves on a number of expert groups and councils with the EC, OECD on entrepreneurial HEIs (HEInnovate); microcredentials, startup and innovation ecosystems.
She has degrees and specializations from Bulgarian and US universities including, Penn State University, Berkeley and MIT.