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Leona Aslanova

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Innovation Starter
Innovation Starter


Acceleration / Incubation / Innovation, Consulting, General Management



English, Spanish, Russian, Bulgarian, Italian


Micro business (<10 employees)



available for this batch

"Those who reject improvement because it is innovation will, in another day or another, be forced to accept innovation when it has ceased to be improvement." -
Stratford Canning, Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe, British diplomat (1786-1888)

courage creativity freedom
Leona can support with:
Decision-making Risk-taking Brand development & communication Crisis management Customer experience management / service management / relationship management Goal setting and scheduling Leadership skills Marketing / digital marketing / social media management Negotiation / sales Product development Starting a business / project / side-hustle
Leona's work experience:
Acceleration / Incubation / Innovation Consulting General Management Manager C-level executive (Co-)Founder Consultant Coach / Trainer Advisor Owner Corporate (>250 employees) Startup Micro business (<10 employees) Bulgaria

Leona is innovation expert in leading corporate innovation programs and innovation projects involved in various events and education initiatives.

As innovation strategist, Leona sees no obvious limits on where innovation can be applied. In her day-to-day work, Leona is planning and facilitating innovation projects for a variety of clients.

She is the founder of Innovation Starter, the first innovation agency in Bulgaria, of the innovations forum Innovation Explorer in partnership with and of Innovation Academy Project – the largest public-private educational partnership in Bulgaria – jointly with the leading Bulgarian universities.

Formerly a Manager Partners Relations for Mobiltel (part of Telecom Austria Group), Leona decided to turn her analytical skills and devotion to a different cause, focusing on innovation.

She holds a doctorate in business administration from Varna Free University “Chernorizets Hrabar”.

She had previously graduated from Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, gaining her Bachelor’s degree in Bulgarian Philology and Master’s degree in Literary Theory with excellence. She did Business Innovations in Vienna at TAG Business School and the mini MBA program of PWC’s Academy. She is also an alumni of Bulgarian Entrepreneurship Center program University Innovation Fellows, Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford.

Leona is a member of the jury of:

  • Central European Annual Entrepreneurship Awards (CESA)

  • The Start4big competition

  • The competition “Entrepreneurs in Science” of the Carol Knowledge 

  • Mentor in:

  • Female Founders Global Community

  • Startup Live

Leona is open for:
doing regular check-ins ✅ grabbing an occasional coffee ☕ becoming an accountability buddy for goals and achievements 🎯 coaching 🏆
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Check out our FAQ below or drop us a line, we're answering all your questions.

  • Does the mentoring program cost anything?
    Nope - but you do have to be an inner circle member at the female factor. The membership starts at 1 € a day. For more info visit our membership page.
  • Can I apply for more than one mentor?
    Yes, you can apply for up to three mentors. Please note, every mentor requires a personalized motivation letter.
  • I'm having trouble deciding who to apply for, how do you pick a good mentor?
    That all depends on your career goals for the upcoming months- so ask yourself where do you want to be in half a year or year from now. Do you want to expand your company in a certain field? Start your own company? Or side business? Do you want to gain a particular skill set? Or maybe you want to move up within your corporation? Choosing a good mentor FOR YOU depends on a lot of things. But we’ve seen that a good mentor mentee relationship and successful outcomes mainly depends on good chemistry aka. you two get along and that the person can give you relevant advice and know-how that will help to excel in YOUR personal career. So ask yourself: “Will I vibe well with this person?” “How is their career and experience relevant to mine?” “How will it help me get to where I want to be in a certain period of time?” "How could my mentor actually benefit from my knowhow and skillset?"
  • How long is the mentoring program?
    The official mentoring period is for half a year. The current mentoring batch is running until December 2024. The fall batch will have applications open in September, and the batch itself will run from October 2024 through to March 2025. However, some of the mentors will still be happy to support you after that period or even become friends.
  • Can I apply for a mentor who lives in another city?
    Absolutely. We encourage you to apply for mentors in other cities as well, especially if you have a certain goal, eg. expanding or establishing a business there or looking for a job in another country or if you're eager to get to know another culture.
  • How can I become a mentor myself?
    If you feel you would be a good fit, you can reach out to us here.
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