Bulgaria: Open for business
The Bulgarian economy is growing at a stunning pace and exports are booming, while its business-friendly environment and well-educated local workforce are a magnet for foreign investments. More and more foreign companies are going there, making significant investments as they open new production units and branches. At the same time, a growing number of Bulgarian companies are opening their wings, conquering foreign markets and significantly increasing their exports.
Dailyrater journalist Apostolos Staikos explains that a growing number of investors describe Bulgaria with one phrase: "Open for Business".
The Bulgarian capital Sofia is a modern, vibrant European city and an economic metropolis of the Balkans.
In 2017, Bulgaria’s GDP amounted to 50.4 billion Euros, while economic growth reached 3.6%. At the same time investment grew by 3.8% and exports reached 25.8 billion Euros.
The European Commission is predicting economic growth for Bulgaria of just under 4% per cent for 2018, followed by a similar rise in 2019.
Bulgaria's economic achievements have come after much hard work, which has led to an investment-friendly business environment.
MAGNET FOR FOREIGN INVESTMENTS
Some companies saw an opportunity long before Bulgaria became an 'economic success story'. Ubisoft, a French video games enterprise, opened its studio in Sofia in 2006 and started with just 11 employees.
Ivan Balabanov, Ubisoft's managing director, says a combination of factors have made Bulgaria a magnet for foreign investors, including a well-educated workforce, good infrastructure and extremely attractive tax rates.
All over the world, Ubisoft, which boasts many acclaimed video game franchises including Assassin's Creed, employs 12,000 creative people from 94 different nationalities.
" Mr Balabanov added.
Mikhail Lozanov, Ubisoft's creative director, has worked for the company in Sofia since day one, initially as a lead programmer, back in 2006.
CLIMBING TO NEW FRONTIERS
But it's not just foreign companies investing in Bulgaria and creating new jobs. Walltopia, a Bulgarian company which exports its products all over the world, has taken advantage of a top quality local workforce and expanded exponentially.
Walltopia was founded in 1998 and is the world's leading climbing wall manufacturer with over 1,800 projects in more than 50 countries on 6 continents.
Walltopia designs and manufactures a wide range of active entertainment attractions, including rope courses and challenging obstacle courses. The company has it’s own production plant in the city of Letnitsa, a two-hour drive from its headquarters in Sofia. Walltopia has assembled millions of square feet of climbing walls and has a team of more than 600 professionals around the globe.
Irina Staneva, Walltopia's investment manager, sums up the secret of her company's success in three words:
" she said.
Ms Staneva added.
One thing is for sure. A growing number of foreign companies are coming to Bulgaria and investing there, while local entrepreneurs are expanding their activities and conquering foreign markets. They all agree that Bulgaria has been transformed into an investment-friendly country that can definitely achieve even higher growth rates.