Sofia: top tech city in 2020 (and 5 reasons why)

Did you know that Bulgaria’s capital Sofia ranks among the top 25 tech cities in 2020? According to the latest Cities of Future 2020/21 report, Sofia ranks 20th among 80 locations. Bulgaria's capital emerges as a hotspot for innovative companies from all over the world. Here’re five reasons why:

1.Thriving tech industry

When asked why they expanded their business to Bulgaria, our members bunq reply without hesitation:

“Bulgaria has the needed talent in terms of language and IT skills, as well as the right mindset that matches our values of getting shit done.”

Let’s take a look at the data. IT is one of the fastest-growing sectors in Bulgaria, and specifically the country’s capital Sofia. The IT share of Sofia’s economy exceeds 6%, marking an increase of over 50% since 2011. Sofia Invest reports that in 2017 alone, the industry’s growth accounted for nearly 20%.

But there’s more. Sofia ranks 2nd among the top 10 fastest growing tech centers in Europe as far as the annual growth of active members of the ecosystem is concerned. And 90% of all technology companies in Bulgaria operate in Sofia.

4 additional reasons why Sofia is a top IT destination

Bulgaria is the EU country with the highest share of women in ICT (31.2%)

  1. Most employees in the IT sector in Sofia work in Programming (25.80%), followed by IT Consultancy (9.89%), and Data Processing, Hosting, and related activities (7.71%).

  2. Bulgaria has the highest number of fintech companies in South-East Europe (over 70, most of them located in Sofia).

  3. Global IT R&D leaders like SAP Labs, HP, Bosch, VMware, CISCO, and IBM have set their R&D centers in Sofia, employing 50 000 highly qualified professionals in over 100 IT companies.

2.Top-notch IT and language skills

Seeking leading professionals to power your IT company? You’ll find them in Bulgaria, which has emerged as a regional talent hub in the SEE in recent years.

Most local graduates hold a higher degree of education and speak good English, according to the National Statistical Institute. Also, Bulgaria is in the top 5 in the all-time ranking in competitive programming, following closely much bigger economies like China, Russia, and Poland, according to statistics by the International Olympiad in Informatics.

New University and private tech-ed programs have emerged to respond to the growing IT business demands in the country. Campus X is proud to be home to Telerik Academy – the first Bulgarian private tech-ed organization, which partners with the entire tech industry and leads the way in tech education.

“We believe that investing in the right new talent and upskilling existing talent is paramount for the growth and success of every business,” comments Telerik Academy’s CEO Alexandra Mechkova.

3.Cost-effectiveness and favorable taxes

It may not come as a big surprise that Sofia ranks 3rd in cost-effectiveness among the main European cities in 2020. Moreover, Bulgaria’s capital ranked 3d in the list of top cost-effective fintech destinations.

These findings are supported by the favorable business tax and fee rates in the country:

  • 10% corporate tax & personal income tax

  • 20% value-added tax (VAT)

  • 18.92% employer social security contribution

4. World-class digital infrastructure

If you look for enterprise-grade IT services and infrastructure, it’s worthwhile to note that Bulgaria has one of the highest Internet speeds in Europe. In fact, Sofia has the second-highest average internet connection rate in the region with downloading and uploading speed of respectively 24 MBPS and 15 MBPS.

As for Bulgaria’s power sector, the country has a supply mix, including nuclear, hydro, thermal-based, and renewable energy generation. And most importantly, the price of the service for industrial use is among the lowest in the EU.

IT services are business-critical

Let’s face it: flawless network access is key for business continuity. With 1,500+ workspaces available at Campus X, we’ve set on a mission to provide flawless and uninterrupted services to all our members. As our award-winning IT Manager Sergei Biliarski explains:

“Two independent fiber-optic routes connect us directly to two reliable ISPs and offer >1 Gbps of combined always-on connectivity. We’ve 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.”

5. Easy to set up a company

Let’s wrap it up with the basics: how to establish a business in Bulgaria? It’s easier than at many other places around the world. For example, there’s no limitation on the share participation of foreign legal entities and individuals, as Bulgaria’s Commercial Act states.

The two most popular forms of business associations in the country are the limited liability company (OOD) and the joint-stock company (AD). Here’s some practical information on the subject.

Why joining the Campus X ecosystem?

Convinced that Sofia is the right place for your company? You’re not alone. Campus X is a leading integrated ecosystem for companies and talent in southeast Europe. We take care of everything so that you can focus on your business. From premium serviced offices to a powerful professional community and trusted partner services.

We’ve already welcomed a number of international companies, including our friends and members bunq, Wipro, and American Eagle.

“Campus X really gave us the flexibility we are looking for in terms of more than an office space but also a community and services that enabled us to set up our first international office but also grow and scale-up fast,” says bunq’s HR & Recruitment Officer Kristiana Hadjlarska.

Ready to grow and succeed together? Find your ideal serviced office and join us now.

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