Setting up your first office in a new market? Finding the right location and office space might be a challenge. But we’ve got you covered.
Drawing on our first-hand experience with international companies that established an office in Bulgaria, we’ve compiled a list of seven mistakes to avoid, while providing an inside look into Sofia’s thriving ecosystem.
1. Unfavorable business location
Companies that consider expanding to new markets know that choosing the right country plays a vital role in supporting their business goals. Therefore, it’s paramount to carefully assess the market’s advantages and limitations in relation to your company’s needs. Here’s a quick overview of a few things to consider:
Location & Time Zone
The right location and time zone are essential for your business operations.
Let’s take the example of Sofia, Bulgaria. Located within a 750M consumer market right in the middle of three continents, Sofia is near unsaturated emerging markets, and a part of the EU, NATO, and WTO. The country’s strategic location makes it a getaway to the rapidly growing markets of Russia, Turkey, the Middle East, and the CIS countries. Situated in the center transit between these regions, Sofia is only 1 to 3 hours flight duration to the biggest European tech hubs like Paris, London, and Amsterdam.
Moreover, the local time zone (Eastern European Time, UTC/GMT +3 summertime/ +2 wintertime hours) is favorable for doing business across continents with many global leaders setting up offices in Bulgaria. Some of them include VMware, Bosch, the World Bank, Uber, Progress, and many others.
The local ecosystem
As a company seeking to diversify its business, you should carefully research the local ecosystem. Sofia, for instance, has recently made the list of Europe’s best tech hubs and ranked as the top Digital Riser for Europe and North America.
Emerging as a leading startup, innovation, and R&D ecosystem, Bulgaria’s capital attracts international companies with favorable taxes (mere 10% flat corporate income tax) and a talented workforce, among other major advantages. Last but not least, the latest report from Invest Bulgaria Agency shows that the net flow of foreign direct investment in Bulgaria for the first 6 months of 2020 amounted to EUR 1.407 billion increasing by 53.2% as compared to the same period in 2019.
Campus X – Bulgaria’s ecosystem for great companies and talent
Considering Bulgaria as your company’s new home? Campus X is much more than a provider of flexible serviced offices. We’re an ecosystem, where we provide everything needed for success – a powerful community, easy access to top talent and capital, and a premier physical hub.
We have welcomed several big global companies, which managed to quickly set up offices in Bulgaria and seamlessly grow their teams. For example, the international business consulting and publicly-traded company Wipro joined our community along with the leading software company HashiCorp, and the revolutionary Dutch mobile bank bunq, which opened their first office in Sofia.
2. Poor digital infrastructure
Uninterrupted digital infrastructure and services keep businesses up and running, especially when it comes to the IT sector. When choosing your company’s new home, it’s essential to do a thorough check of the local digital infrastructure and Internet speed. Also, your office operator should be able to provide the necessary quality of IT services.
What’s the situation in Sofia, Bulgaria?
Bulgaria ranks 39th out of 221 countries in terms of Internet speed, according to the 2020’s Worldwide Broadband Speed League ranking, conducted by Cable.co.uk and M-Lab. Thus, Bulgaria is among the European countries at the top of the worldwide list when it comes to digital infrastructure and fast connection.
As far as electricity is concerned, Bulgaria’s power sector has a supply mix, including nuclear, hydro, thermal-based, and renewable energy generation. And the price of the service for industrial use is among the lowest in the EU, as Invest Sofia reports.
Campus X’s enterprise-grade tech experience
Campus X offers custom IT services, which streamline and enhance companies’ business processes. From best-in-class infrastructure to VPN access, assistance with obtaining an ISO certification, and complex on-premise and cloud solutions, among others. Based on your business needs, you can utilize Campus X’s award-winning IT infrastructure, or we can set up your own complying with the highest security standards.
But there is more. Campus X’s IT infrastructure is prepared for uninterrupted operation, whereas our UPSs and diesel generators ensure constant power supply and Internet connectivity.
“Two independent fiber-optic routes connect us directly to two reliable ISPs and offer always-on connectivity. We have worked hard to implement various High Availability and Disaster Recovery technologies. Combined with uninterrupted power, provided by our building UPSs and diesel generators, this makes us quite independent of external factors when it comes to business continuity,” explains Sergei Billiarski, Campus X’s award-winning IT Manager.
And our members already enjoy the benefits of Campus X’s premium IT services. For example, the publicly-traded company Wipro chose Campus X for its first-ever R&D office in BG, after a strict due diligence process with a strong focus on security and IT infrastructure compliance.
“When setting up Wipro’s first hub in Sofia, we evaluated 3-4 serviced offices and chose Campus X for their customer-centric approach. The team spent the time to clearly understand our needs and went out of their way to deliver everything within budget and on a tight deadline. The building is well-designed and offers a great location, infrastructure, and flexibility, ensuring a great start for us. In my experience, Campus X is one of the best serviced offices worldwide,” comments Ramesh Phillips, Head-Operations Support-UK/Europe.
3. Lack of skilled English-speaking talent
A highly skilled workforce is the backbone of every successful company. When choosing your new office’s location, it’s key to assess the talent pool in the respective country in the specific field you operate.
Sofia – regional talent hub
Bulgaria’s capital has emerged as an attractive destination for tech companies looking to set up an R&D or services office due to the pool of highly skilled English-speaking tech workforce. Here’s a brief overview of some of the latest statistics regarding higher education:
• Over 110,000 university students from 23 universities in Sofia.
• 83 licensed private IT education centers in Sofia with a total of over 8,000 graduates.
• 51.4% of the city’s working population holds a university degree.
• 98% of the high school students in Bulgaria study a foreign language (usually English) and 73% study a second language (mainly German, French, Spanish, Russian).
Access to top tech talent – onsite at Campus X
At Campus X, you can benefit from our trusted partnership with Telerik Academy - the first Bulgarian private tech-ed organization, which helps power the entire tech industry. With 10+ years of experience in grooming top tech talent and a strong community of 130,000 people, Telerik Academy is a pioneer and leader in private tech-ed in Bulgaria. The Academy quickly expanded to power the entire IT sector in Bulgaria with Master Juniors and upskill professionals to future-proof businesses.
Furthermore, we are collaborating with one of Bulgaria’s leading HR consultancy companies - BICA Services. Thus, we can further empower our community and help you power your teams with the assistance of the best HR experts in the country. BICA Services is a trusted HR consulting partner with 10+ years of track record in hiring, growing, and retaining IT teams, as well as building R&D centers from scratch. Its on-site team at Campus X can help you source the right Senior Talent and streamline your HR processes.
4. Inflexible terms
Thinking in perspective is important. Your business may need to scale up or down and it should be reflected in the office space you rent. It’s essential that the operator is able to offer you enough flexibility and a possibility to make amendments. If there’s no room for alterations, you’ll have to relocate part of your newly hired staff or look for a new building/operator. And neither of these options is cost-effective.
Operators offering flexible offices and leases allow for an easy extension or reduction of workspaces. Entirely tailored to your evolving needs.
Campus X’s flexible office spaces
Campus X’s workspaces help you streamline costs due to its flexibility. Our modular private offices transform as your company’s needs change. So that your business can seamlessly scale up or down. Whether it is your main or satellite office, get flexible month-to-month terms with no hidden fees.
5. Uninspired office environment
Many business leaders underestimate the power of premium office facilities and design. And recent studies have shown that office design plays a vital role in increasing employees’ productivity. Apart from the office spaces, the common areas can make a big difference in fostering collaboration and creativity, while providing maximum comfort for your teams.
Campus X’s stellar facilities and interior design
By using our extensive experience and gaining inspiration from the constant collaboration with companies at different stages of their development, we have built an exceptional and inspiring work environment. It meets our members’ needs, enhances productivity, and boosts creativity and innovation, whereas stimulating the community spirit and the collaboration between our members. At Campus X, you’ll find beautiful modular offices to suit your company’s unique needs, along with common spaces that boost productivity and attract talent.
6. No community support
Being part of a powerful community of like-minded professionals is essential for every business, which has just opened an office on a new market. When thinking of your next office, you should make sure you’ll have a bridge to a strong and carefully filtered professional community, where members help each other on the way to success.
Welcome to Campus X’s tight-knit community
If you’ve just stepped into the Bulgarian market, you’ll be happy to benefit from our meticulously selected community of leading local and global companies. We’re proud to be home to 50+ prominent companies, operating by shared values and virtues and demonstrating openness to share know-how and willingness to learn and grow together.
For instance, the revolutionary Dutch mobile bank bunq wanted to transfer their unique culture to Bulgaria. They were looking to join a vibrant community of like-minded professionals and get a private office tailored to their needs, where everything works seamlessly. bunq found the best of both worlds at Campus X.
“Campus X really gave us the flexibility we were looking for in terms of more than an office space but also a powerful community and end-to-end services that enabled us to not only set up our first international office but also grow and scale-up fast,” Kristiana Hadjlarska, HR & Recruitment Officer at bunq.
7. Dispersed elements
Perhaps you’ve chosen a great office with cutting-edge facilities and great interior design but there’s no easy access to leading talent, onsite experts, and like-minded professionals. Holistic planning is important. It’s the main prerequisite for your business success without unnecessary difficulties on the way. Here’s how we solve this problem.
All you need onsite at Campus X
Campus X is an end-to-end ecosystem that provides all key elements for companies’ success under one roof. Hub – flexible serviced office and premier partner services. Talent - access to leading junior and senior talent, as well as upskilling opportunities. Community - a melting pot of movers and shakers, who help each other on the way to global success. Capital - bridge to funding and leading mentors.
We cater to your every need with the utmost dedication to detail. So that you focus on your business, while we take care of everything else.
Want to join Campus X’s stellar ecosystem in Bulgaria? Learn more about our offerings and get in touch.