PRESS RELEASE - 10th July 2015



The initiative enables vulnerable communities, predominately women and youth, to break out of the bondage of poverty through technology, education and entrepreneurship

Date and time: July 10th, 2015, Friday, 8:00 am;
Place: Tea House „Tea in the Factory“, 11 Georgy Benkovsky Str., Sofia


This Friday, July 10th, at the Tea House „Tea in the Factory“ in Sofia, Bulgaria, at 8.00 am, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan, is launching the Initiative for Social Empowerment (ISE)’s international project Saksham in Europe. The event will feature a tea tasting and a selection of the first herbal products, produced within the project by budding local entrepreneurs from rural areas.

The international project Saksham (empowered in Sanskrit) combines innovation and entrepreneurial training with the local knowledge and traditions in the production of lavender and other herbal products in Bulgaria. The initiative’s targets are small communities, living in Bulgarian rural areas, who have the desire and the potential for development. The focal points of the project are the mobile, game-based training platform and the access to local and global markets of the Saksham micro enterprises. The initiative is in a pilot phase with the vision to be adapted and expanded to other countries of the Western Balkans and Europe.

The event will be attended by representatives of the small communities taking part in the project launch: entrepreneurs from the Rodopi mountain village Dolen, the Roma community in Malka Brestnitsa, Aglen village, situated on the riverbanks of Vit River, and Sredno Gradishte, the region of Chirpan. An official guest at the opening event is also the ISE founding partner Professor Alok Chaturvedi, from Purdue University, who has created and continues to successfully develop the Saksham platform in the US.

At the moment, women from four rural areas are being trained to start their own micro-enterprises for the production of lavender and other herbal products. According to the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture, since 2011, Bulgaria has been the biggest producer of lavender oil in the world, producing 120 tons per year, as well as one of the biggest producers and exporters of herbs with 421 varieties of herbs growing in Bulgaria, out of the 605 in all of Europe. ISE’s mission in Bulgaria is to create opportunities for vulnerable communities to escape poverty by producing herbal products, which will be distributed by socially responsible local and international retailers under the global brand name Saksham.

The first ISE partners in Bulgaria are Tea House„Tea in the Factory“, who support the project by delivering herbal workshops and ensuring access to the local market, as well as “Lavender Fest”, who donated lavender for the first Saksham products and who take active part in the implementation of the project.

So far, the initiative has been supported financially solely by private donors. It is a suitable platform for corporate social responsibility involvement.

About the ISE

ISE is an international organization that enables vulnerable groups of women and youth to raise themselves from poverty through technology, education and entrepreneurship. The organization accomplishes its mission through innovative approaches that make entrepreneurial training available to the poor at every level of education, including the illiterate, through intuitive, culturally adapted mobile game-based platform and through a system that ensures access to global markets and successful micro-enterprises. ISE works in close partnership with ISEEK, established at Purdue University, USA, and with many other NGO’s, businesses, social enterprises, various government and financial institutions and universities in the world.

For more information, please visit the ISE website, or contact ISE Co-Founder and CEO Renne Traicova at tel: +359 884 230625 or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..