Bulgaria Should Start Spreading Its Success Stories to Its Strategic Partners

Bulgaria’s current position – political and economic-wise – is somehow ambiguous. We all know about the issues of the investment climate and the business environment it has. However, or even against all odds, it has many success stories and prerequisites for successful businesses that should be told to our neighbors, our partners in the EU and in the USA, and globally. Bulgaria needs that to fill the vacuum of positive pieces of news about our economy and local enterprises, startups, ventures. That was Ivan Mihaylov, AmCham Bulgaria CEO, said during the discussion “Bulgaria’s Advantages Through the Eyes of Foreign Investors”, organized by the Bulgarian Invest Agency. It welcomed expatriates that have been running businesses for years now in the country, as well as senior representatives of 10 of the bilateral chambers here, incl. AmCham.

“Education has a crucial role in shaping our next generation of colleagues in manufacturing, and in all industries. What surprises me a lot is when we visit an university or high-school and they are amazed by the great stories about innovation, automation and use of robots in many Bulgaria factories,” said in his remarks Tommy Ver Elst, AmCham Board Member, and GM of Sensata Bulgaria who was the main speaker on behalf of the chamber at the event. “Based on our experience education is good, but it needs adjustment forward looking in order to keep meeting the expectations of both the business and the students as the world in which we operate is fast changing. Thus we can keep ensuring a rapid integration from the university benches into the production facilities and offices.

Also, he pointed out to another strength of doing business in Bulgaria. “The cost of doing business here is relatively good. Many investors see it as a strength because of 10% flat tax, increased digitalization, etc.” Bulgaria has stability – the finance system, the well-managed public debt, the steady growth of the GDP are the factors that everyone is watching carefully when makes investments here.

However, the areas for improvement in the business environment in Bulgaria, include some of the hard answers to the question how to be innovative and competitive in Europe, when the implication of the EU Green Deal provides plenty of hurdles, and challenges for transformation of an enterprise to become carbon neutral till 2050.

Another area for improvement is the predictability of the regulation and legislation. For years now businesses have been facing challenges created by a fast legislative process, or even changes of one act make impact in several sectors, not connected to the initial act at all. “And we as managers, should navigate our businesses and reply to the questions from our Board rooms about an avalanche of changes that require decisions in labor, cost management, legal areas that were not part of our investment equation when we did the investment at all,” explained Tommy Ver Elst too.

About the round table

The purpose of the discussion was to give a platform to the bilateral chambers of commerce and foreign investors who have chosen to implement and develop business in Bulgaria, highlighting the advantages of our country, sharing their experience and the way they perceive and present Bulgaria as an attractive investment destination, to its strategic partners and collaborators abroad.

The representatives of the companies noted the strong institutional support for business, the good logistic connectivity, the common market, the good infrastructure, including highways and ports, as well as the strategic geographical position of our country. Other strengths that were highlighted are low business costs, nearshoring, access to European funding, high level of English language proficiency, etc.

The chambers gave recommendations in several directions, strengthening regional cooperation and the supply chain, having clearly defined strategic sectors to develop, large-scale positioning and promotion of Bulgaria through participation in major events abroad.

There were present ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA in Bulgaria, AmCham Bulgaria, British Bulgarian Business Association, Bulgarian-Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bulgarian-Spanish Chamber of Commerce, Bulgarian-Swiss Chamber of Commerce, Bulgarian-Turkish Chamber of Commerce, German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Confindustria Bulgaria, French-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.