1873 - 1945
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"The most social industrialist in the Balkans"
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vil. Tsviatkovtsi
Firstborn son of Ivan and Bona Semovi. Until the age of 11, he lived in his native village of Tsviatkovtsi. He first came to Gabrovo in 1882 with an interest in learning foreign languages. He already could speak Turkish, Russian, and French. He helped his father in the cottage industry. In 1898 he married Anitsa Gadeva Taleva. After her death, he married Radka Nikolova Pateva in 1902.
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Ivan Semov
(1833 - 1917 г.)


Pencho Semov's father, Ivan Semov, was born in 1833 in Tsviatkovtsi, Handa municipality (Sabotkovska), according to an administrative document issued in 1898.
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"My father's name was Ivan - a peasant - a traveling salesman, originally from the village of. Tsviatkovtsi"


Bona Nedyalkova is an offshoot of the great Bozhen Popovi family. Her family accumulated its wealth from trade and entrepreneurship. 

Her family originates from this picturesque Balkan village near Gabrovo. 

The legend tells how Bojana from Turnov, fleeing from the Turks, settled here with her sons and daughters. 

The settlement bears her name - Bozhentsi.
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Bona Semova
(1843 - 1924 г.)
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"My mother Bona Nedyalkova was a farmer from the village of. Bozhentse"
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Nedyalko Semov
(1886 - 1916 г.)


Nedyalko Ivanov Semov (1886 - 10 June 1916) was the youngest son of Bona and Ivan Semov. He graduated from a trade school and worked with his brother Pencho Semov in Varna.

He is a shareholder of the First Ironworks "Kiril" AD, Varna, described as "alert, with a sense of responsibility, hard-working".


Radka Ivanova Mincheva (1888-1963) - sister of Pencho Ivanov Semov. Radka Ivanova Semova (1888 - 1963) was born in the village of. Tsviatkovtsi. 

In 1904 she married the merchant Dimitar Ivanov Minchev (1881-1941).
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Radka Semova
(1888 - 1963 г.)
Родословно дърво на рода Семови
On July 26, 1898, in the church "St. John the Forerunner" - Gabrovo, Pencho Ivanov Semov, a merchant by occupation, literate, Orthodox by faith, was married to Anitsa Gadeva, a housewife by occupation, literate, Orthodox by faith. They have two children - a daughter Bonka and a son Ivan.
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"Her youth was exciting - everything in
she radiated tenderness and beauty."
Unfortunately, a great tragedy befalls the family. On November 11, 1901, Anitsa Semova died, and less than four months later the father buried his son Ivan. 

The diagnosis for both was tuberculosis. His daughter Bonka is still alive and the spark of hope burns in Pencho Semov. But on March 14, 1903, she too died. The diagnosis was also tuberculosis. 

In the aftermath of this tragedy, Semov with personal funds founded a fund to fight tuberculosis and built the specialized hospital for lung diseases in Gabrovo, which still bears his name.
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At his mother's insistence, in September 1902, he agreed to remarry, because someone had to take care of his child Bonka, and it was almost a year since the death of his beloved Anitza. It was not to Pencho Semov's liking to marry! 

The vacillations continued, he probably found arguments for and against. The decision is very difficult. Of those proposed by his mother to marry, he chose the beautiful 18-year-old Radka Nikolova Pateva (21 November 1884 - 9 September 1958).
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Radka and Pencho Semovi, Gabrovo, 1907.
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They were married on December 8, 1902 in the Church of St. John the Forerunner" Gabrovo. 

His daughter Bonka is still alive and the spark of hope burns in Pencho Semov. But on March 14, 1903, she died too. The diagnosis was also tuberculosis.

Throughout their 43-year life together with Pencho Semov, Radka Semova did not share with anyone the first year of their marriage, the death of Bonka, the fact that the witnesses of the child's end were Gadyu Talev - Anitsa's father and Nikola Ivanov Patev - Radka Semova's father.
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Radka and Pencho Semovi with their son Pencho, 1930.
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Radka Semova, 1938.
Raised in a patriarchal spirit, she learned from a young age to value hard work, and honesty, to respect family traditions, and to honor parents and relatives. 

The solid foundations of home education are expanded in the school. She learns everything she needs to be a true homemaker and housewife, wife and mother.
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"My mother has always been a realist without being a pessimist even in the most difficult times for her."
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Shareholders and members of the board of directors of Iron Factory "Kiril" AD
For more than half a century Pencho Semov worked for the economic uplift of Bulgaria. He was prominent in trade, industry, and banking. 

The beginning was in 1886, when he had barely completed the 1st class of that time (now the 5th) and went with his father. As cordwainers they sold handicrafts, and from the Dobrudja villages they bought furs and wool, which were in demand in Gabrovo. 

With the little money they saved, they opened a manufactory in Tutrakan, "where they often stopped on their tours of the neighboring Danube villages". 

The father leaves his underage son in charge of the sale. Some of the older merchants in Tutrakan stop talking to him, and other customers refuse to shop.
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Another boy would have refused, but with Pencho Semov the refusals only strengthen his determination and perseverance. 

The days in Tutrakan marked the beginning of his entrepreneurial activity. All the latent energy, deeply dormant during his rural childhood, rushes to awaken for a tumultuous life in the world of entrepreneurship. 

And so, in 1898 Pencho Semov with part of his available money joined his first enterprise: the Collective Society - factory (workshop) for soaps "Talev-Semov". He jumped to the rank of partner with Gydyu Talev. 

Once on board the steamer of action, he does not stumble into doubts. They make soap - they sell it both in Dobrudja and in the Romanian Danube villages. Pencho Semov worked seriously in Gabrovo from 1898 to 1900 and managed to prove himself.

"Pencho" now calls him "Mr. Semov" before he turns 30.
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Asset growth as a result of capital invested by JSC - factories with shareholding of Pencho Semov
BGN 6 794 000
Initial capital
157 262 761 BGN.
The capital raised
BGN 535 610 463
Final fixed assets
BGN 1 082 582 000
Amount of finite assets
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Factory "Ivan Semov and Sons" AD - gr. Gabrovo
Pencho Semov worked seriously in Gabrovo from 1898 to 1900 and managed to prove himself. From "Pencho" he was already called "Mr. Semov" before he turned 30.

He has an incredible zest for work and shows it quite openly. 

In 1904 he was already a shareholder in the wool-textile factory "Nadezhda" AD. According to the "Book of Gabrovo Industry", the idea for the foundation of this enterprise was of the great businessman - the tanner Andrei Momerin. 

Pencho Semov founded with his father and brother Semo a partnership "Ivan Semov and Sons - Pencho and Semo Ivanovi Semoi" for trading in furs, wool, and other ambulant trade in 1905.
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During this period Pencho Semov became interested in knitwear production in Gabrovo. He started by introducing hand knitting and sewing machines to homes in the town and surrounding villages. In this way, he provided an income-generating livelihood for poor families. 

Great are the merits of P. Semov for the progress of another industrial enterprise - the wool-textile factory "Uspekh" in Gabrovo. In 1917-1918 he bought the majority of the shares of the Anonymous company "Uspekh" and turned the factory into his basic enterprise. 

Thanks to the capital he invested in the production and his excellent business qualities, the company "Uspekh" became one of the largest Bulgarian wool-textile companies. P. Semov also cares for the cotton textile factory "Prince Kiril" in Gabrovo. 

In the 1930s its annual production reached 10-15 thousand kg of knitted fabric. Having strengthened his material position, gained authority among the industrial circles in the city, enterprising and innovative in spirit, P. Semov was among the initiators and the largest shareholders of many factory enterprises.
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AD "Uspekh" - factory for woolen yarns and fabrics
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The building of the women's charity "Mother's Care"
Pencho Semov remains in the hearts of the people with his philanthropic activity. The people of Gabrovo in the 1920s defined him as the Benefactor. 

His great love is Bulgaria and its common people, with their virtues and hard palms. He bows down before his hard-working life, from which the Bulgarian character and spirit have their origin. 

The desire to be useful to his people drives him to social activity. Patriotism lifts him high above party affiliations and life's quarrels. He does not allow himself to use his influence and wealth for selfish ends. 

Uses his personal wealth by donating...
According to researchers of Semov's life, his personal donations amounted to about 55 million leva, and made through his foundation for over BGN 200 million.
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Tracing the broad parameters of his social and charitable activities, we also identify the directions in which they were carried out:

- for the state and municipalities;
- for schools;
- for Bulgarian culture;
- for civil organisations and committees;
- for churches and monasteries;
- for his factory workers.
In 1919 he donated 300 thousand gold leva for lobbying in favour of Bulgaria
during the negotiation of the Treaty of Neuilly.

In the mid-1930s, the industrialist's foundation, named after him, donated the 300 thousand dollars for the buildings of the Agrarian Faculty of Sofia University (whose successor is the Agrarian University in Plovdiv) and for the Institute of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases in Bulgaria.
In his first will of 1928, Semov bequeathed funds for the construction of a building for the Union of Industrialists in Gabrovo.

The building of the women's charitable society was purchased with his money
"Mother's Care" and the Economic School in Gabrovo was built. 

In Sofia, Semov built and for a long time materially supported the first homeless shelter in Bulgaria.
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The Semovi family in front of the ZhBD "Mother's Care" with teachers and theatrical dance group, 1938.
It maintains free canteens for students in Gabrovo, Varna and Kazanlak.
Sponsored the education of many students and children of workers in its
factories, amounting to over BGN 3 million.

He donates funds for the Catholic College "St. Augustine" in Plovdiv, the Aprilov High School in Gabrovo, and schools in Varna and other cities.

In 1936, Semov donated his villa and part of his homestead in Varna to the Union of Journalists in Bulgaria. These properties were valued at 450 thousand gold leva.
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The numerous donations that Semov made during his lifetime rank him among the city's most generous benefactors. 

He was awarded the Order of Civil Merit IV degree (1928), the Order of St. Alexander" - II degree, and commemorative medals for participation in the wars 1912 - 1913; and 1915 - 1918.
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Bequeaths to 34 organizations and companies, shares from factories and banks, not forgetting his relatives and loved ones, the workers of the factories "Uspekh" and "Vilata". 

In 1943 he amended his will, adding to it and taking the initiative himself to set up a charitable foundation to which he gave to charity 
50% of your assets. 

He built a girls' boarding house in the shape of a steamer near the Old Hospital to be named "Radka and Pencho Semovi". 

He planned to build a male boarding house "Bona and Ivan Semovi", a sanatorium in his native village of Tsviatkovtsi, and a factory in the nearby village of Sabotkovtsi.
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The political changes that took place in the country after September 9, 1944, thwarted the charitable endeavors of the Foundation. 

With the law on the nationalization of private industrial enterprises of 23 Dec. 1947, the funds earmarked for it in the factories were blocked.

Even today the buildings built by Pencho Semov exist, but they are not used according to his will, and the shares and bonds of the foundation are nationalized. 

Pencho Semov died on July 10, 1945. He was sent to his eternal home by thousands of Gabrovians as a last tribute to him and his life, reflected in the following sentences:
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"I appeared poor and all my life I created, fought and won - my work is there! I was a teacher without being an educator, I am rich without being selfish. I am social without being a socialist. I worked inspiredly without being a poet."

Non-profit Association "Pencho Semov"

Our mission is to honor the remarkable legacy of Pencho Semov - a man who dedicated his life to the pursuit of development, an entrepreneur who helped the industrial growth of Bulgaria, and a philanthropist who supported numerous charitable causes in various fields. We strive to highlight his importance and continue his legacy.

Founding Council

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    Andrey Nikolov
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    Bogdan Andreev
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    Ventsislav Velinov
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    Darin Tsankov
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    Diana Ivanova
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    Emil Mihov
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    Maria Yozova
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    Radoslav Stoyanov
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    Stiliyana Sabeva-Tincheva

Objectives of the Association

Promoting the role of the philanthropist Pencho Semov

Promoting the role of philanthropist Pencho Semov by highlighting the importance of the cause of charity in various spheres.

Creating a film about the personality of Pencho Semov

Creation of a film about the personality of Pencho Semov on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Establishment of an award in the name of Pencho Semov

Establishment of a prize in the name of Pencho Semov for students from the Gabrovo region for the excellent success and excellent performance (ranking in the first three places) in the national round of Olympiads, professional competitions, volunteer initiatives to promote traditional values and Bulgarian virtues.

Establishment of a scholarship in the name of Pencho Semov

Establishment of a scholarship in the name of Pencho Semov for study at a higher education institution for a high school graduate with excellent grades, good behavior in society, who is materially and socially disadvantaged, semi-orphan or round orphan.

Support for participations and projects at home and abroad

Support for participation and projects in the country and abroad to promote the activities of Pencho Semov.

Initiation of an award in the name of Pencho Semov

Initiation of the establishment of an award in the name of Pencho Semov by the local self-government authorities in the town of. Gabrovo

The means to achieve these objectives:

Organization of constructive events

Organizing meetings, seminars, conferences, training, preparing cultural and social programs, and organizing celebrations of national and local importance.

Organizing charity events

Organizing charity events, shows, concerts and performances, training, presentations, and qualifications.

Maintaining contacts with associations

Maintaining contacts with associations at home and abroad that have similar goals.


Publishing: online publications, collections, articles, and manuals.

Work on projects related to the objectives of the Association

Work on projects related to the objectives of the Association, innovation in education, and improving the quality of secondary education in relation to the policies of the Ministry of Education.

Join the cause

Every donation will be used for the realization of the causes of the association, every donated amount will be publicly available.
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