Are you looking for the best information on how to start and grow a successful business in Bulgaria? We’ve got you covered. In this article, you will learn about small business and investment opportunities in Bulgaria, how to do your market research and why you should register your business in Bulgaria. You will also learn the cost implication of setting up your business in Bulgaria and exactly how to open a corporate bank account.
Brief Overview of Business Opportunities in Bulgaria
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In a list of 190 economies of the world, according to WorldBank, Bulgaria ranks 61 on the ease of doing business index. The countries among the top 10 on the ease of doing business index globally in 2020 are Sweden, Norway, the UK, Georgia, the United States, South Korea, Denmark, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand ranking number one.
Some of the most lucrative business and investment opportunities in Bulgaria are agriculture, healthcare, ICT, safety and security, and energy. Ever since Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004 and the European Union in 2007, its economy has continued to soar. As a result, it has never ceased to attract American investors.
Edmund Beck is an 85-year-old millionaire from Texas US who has never ceased to invest in Bulgaria. The report has it that he has been buying and renovating cultural monuments in the former capital of Bulgaria Veliko Tarnovo for over 10 years.
If you would like to start a new business in Bulgaria or bring an existing one, you can explore these profitable ideas we discussed here.
Conduct a Market Research to Find the Best Business Idea for You to Start in Bulgaria
Just because agriculture, travels and tourism are among the most profitable business opportunities in Bulgaria doesn’t mean you have to choose from them. You may need to conduct your market research to see how lucrative what you are passionate about is.
If you love programming, for instance, you can decide to look for the best industry to start serving in Bulgaria. That’s a unique way to set up a company without going outside your area of expertise.
Many companies in Southeastern Europe would need your services as a programmer. You can help them develop a mobile app for their business.
What Are the Potential Challenges in Starting a New Business in Bulgaria as a Foreigner?
Setting up a business in Bulgaria is not without its unique challenges. Just like in every other country, starting a business isn’t a walk in the park. You will have to deal with a lot of issues. But can these challenges of launching a profitable business be conquered? The answer is yes. If not, these two Bulgarian billionaire brothers Kiril and Georgi Domuschievi won’t be on Forbes’ Billionaire List.
On the list of the top challenges you will face when it comes to starting a company in Bulgaria are:
- Language barriers
- Cultural differences
- Skepticism and citizens’ unwillingness to challenge ideologies
We highly recommend you go with someone who speaks Bulgarian if you intend to deal with government institutions when setting up your business in Bulgaria. You need someone that speaks both English and Bulgarian and that can help you interpret.
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Choose a Business Structure That Suits Your Startup
The importance of choosing the right business structure for your startup can’t be overemphasized. This is because your choice of business structure will influence everything from day-to-day operations to taxes and how much of your personal assets are at risk.
If you are considering setting up your business in Bulgaria as a foreigner or citizen, here are the available business structures to choose from:
- Sole proprietorship: This is one of the legitimate business structures approved by Bulgarian commercial law that gives an individual an opportunity to become self-employed or run a freelancing business. Less legal and financial protections are some of the disadvantages of a sole proprietorship.
- Partnership: This type of business structure requires at least two entrepreneurs or companies to come together under one trade name for a commercial purpose. One key disadvantage of the general partnership business structure is the fact that the liability of the partners for the debts of the business is unlimited.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC): The Bulgarian Commercial Code describes the limited liability company as a company formed by one or more persons who are liable for the company’s obligations with their contributions to the company’s registered capital. Read this article to learn the difference between sole proprietorship and LLC.
- Joint stock company (JSC): This type of corporate organisation is quite common among startups and other companies that may want to go public on the stock market someday. A joint stock company can be governed by the board of directors (a one-tier managing system) or by both the supervisory board and the board of directors (if a two-tier managing system is chosen).
Register Your Business in Bulgaria
It’s no longer news that foreign investors have as much power to set up a business in Bulgaria just like local investors. To register your business in Bulgaria, you will need the following requirements:
- Registration form at the Commercial Register
- Articles of incorporation, General meeting documents
- Notarised signature specimen and written consent by a company representative
- Bank statement for deposited minimum capital
- Company name certificate
Some of the countries that enjoy awesome bilateral relationships with Bulgaria are Germany, Turkey, the UK, the United States, Greece, Russia and many other EU member countries. You will benefit from these trade relationships and expand your brand to Europe when you register your business in Bulgaria.
Can I register a business in Bulgaria remotely? The answer is no. Due to stricter bank compliance, non-Bulgarian citizens can no longer set up a Bulgarian company remotely. To register an LLC in Bulgaria, an escrow (deposit) account must be opened and your company’s founding capital deposited.
How Much Does It Cost to Set Up a Company in Bulgaria?
There are no special requirements when opening a company in Bulgaria, except when registering a joint stock company. The minimum share capital for setting up a joint stock company is 50,000 BGN, and the share capital requirements are raised to 100,000 BGN if the company is listed on the Stock Exchange.
Open a Company Bank Account
Can a foreigner open a business bank account in Bulgaria? The answer is. Foreign investors seeking to operate their business in Bulgaria have the freedom to open a company bank account. The requirements for opening a company bank account in Bulgaria are:
- A valid means of identification like an international passport or national ID (for Bulgarian citizens)
- A legal address which can be your office address to prove that the company is actually reachable (this is authenticated using your proof of address document like utility bills)
- A minimum deposit necessary for the corporate account activation
- Copies of the founding documents of the company
- If your type of business requires permits/licenses to operate, copies of such permits and licenses will be required to open a corporate bank account in Bulgaria.
- Power of attorney – if a representative acts on behalf of the legal entity when opening an account in a Bulgarian bank.
Some of the most reliable banks in Bulgaria according to popular online reviews are DSK Bank, UniCredit Bulbank, United Bulgarian Bank, Eurobank Bulgaria, etc. The following fintech startups are also revolutionizing the payment processing industry in Bulgaria: Datecs, Paysafe, Easy Payment Services, myPOS, etc.
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Obtain the Necessary Licenses and Permits
Does the type of business you want to operate require licenses and permits to be considered a legal operation? You need to find out from the business consultant or attorney assisting you in your company formation in Bulgaria.
These businesses and more require licenses and permit to operate in Bulgaria: restaurant business, real estate agency, hospital, law firm, private jet hiring services, a fintech company, etc.
Create a Business Plan
Aside from using your business plan to access funding, you need it to be able to fully understand every aspect of your business. Before you start a business in Bulgaria, outline the goals and objectives of the business and your financial projections.
Who is your target market? You need to identify your target market and develop the right marketing strategies for reaching them.
Using your business plan, you can easily identify the opportunities and threats you are likely to face.
Set Up the Physical Location and Operations
The location of your business plays a vital role in your growth. Consider sitting your business in a commercial environment. It should not only be accessible but should also have basic amenities.
The cost of renting a coworking space for an individual in Bulgaria can range from 179 BGN to 589 BGN per person per month. This is obtainable if you are paying for a 24-month contract. A quick search for the best coworking space in Bulgaria will help you find a great physical location for your business.
Once you’ve got an office space, start purchasing the necessary equipment that are peculiar to your business. Equipment financing options are also available to you. Hire the services of the best human resource management company to assist you in the recruiting process. They can as well help you to train your workers to become high-performing employees.
Launch the Business and Start Deploying Your Marketing Strategies in Bulgaria
Now that you have verified the profitability of your business, obtained licenses and permits, and secured an office address, it is time to launch. It’s time to start deploying all the marketing strategies you’ve been learning about.
Digital marketing is a great way to acquire new leads and nurture them into loyal customers. You may also want to use billboard advertising by buying ad spaces in strategic places. Print media companies like Capital Daily, Sega, Standart and 24 Chasa can help you get the word out about your business to more eyeballs in Bulgaria. Outdoor advertising isn’t dead either. Consider using it as well.
The goal is to be visible where your ideal customers congregate. You can’t grow your business if you don’t prioritize marketing. But while at it, do not be too rigid to ignore changes in market demands. Where necessary, adjust your marketing plans and continue to deliver value to your target audience.
Do you find any of this information about how to start a profitable business in Bulgaria valuable? Would you want to work with one of our partners to register your business? Send us an email at [email protected]