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Starting a Business in Bulgaria


Starting a Business in Bulgaria

Bulgaria Business Experts

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Why Start a Business in Bulgaria

  • Area: 110,993 sq. km. / 42,822 square miles
  • Population (end 2008): (7 606 551 3 720 932 - males / 3 958 358 - females)
  • Real GDP growth rate: 6.0% (2008)
  • Economy (GVA, 2007): 61.5% services, 32.3% industry and 6.2% agriculture
  • University degrees: 22% of population
  • Native language: Bulgarian
  • Foreign languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Russian
  • Capital: Sofia - 1.4 mln. people
  • Big cities: Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas, Rousse
  • Big airports: Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas Seaports: Varna, Bourgas
  • River ports on the Danube: Vidin, Rousse
  • Timezone: EET (UTC +2)
  • Currency: Bulgarian Lev (BGN), pegged to Euro (EUR 1 = BGN 1.95583)
  • Official holidays: 01.01 - New Year, 03.03 - Liberation Day, Orthodox Easter, 01.05 - Labour Day, 06.05 - St. George's Day and the Bulgarian Military Army's Day, 24.05 - Bulgarian Education and Culture and Slavonic Writing Day, 06.09 - Unification Day, 22.09 - Independence Day, 24-26.12 - Christmas Days
  • Telephone code: + 359
  • Top-level domain: .bg

The territory of the Republic of Bulgaria is divided into 278 municipalities and 28 regions. Municipalities are legal entities and have the right of ownership and independent municipal budgets. Mayors of the municipalities and municipal councils are elected through direct local elections at every 4 years, following the law regulations. The municipal council is the local government authority, which determines the development policy of the municipality. The municipal council consists of the directly elected municipal councillors. The executive power body in the municipality is the mayor of the municipality.

The regions are administrative-territorial units executing the regional policy of the central government. The regional government is performed by regional governors and regional administration staff on municipality budget expenses. The regional governor is a monocracy body of the executive power in the region, performing the state government in the region and providing compliance of national and local interests in executing the regional policy. The regional governor is appointed by the Council of Ministers.

The Investment Promotion Act regulates the terms and procedures of investing in Bulgaria

The revision of the Investment Promotion Act, effective as of 2 June 2009, introduced a system of promotion measures for initial investments in tangible and intangible fixed assets and new employment linked thereto. The following conditions must be fulfilled:

  • the investments must be related to the setting-up of a new enterprise, to the extension of an existing enterprise or activity, to diversification of the output of an enterprise or activity into new additional products or to a fundamental change in the overall production process of an existing enterprise or activity;
  • they must be implemented in the following economic activities:
  • of the industrial sector: manufacturing industry and production of electricity from renewable energy sources;
  • of the services sector: high technology activities in the field of computer technologies, research and development, as well as education and human health care;
  • at least 80 per cent of the future income must be from the products produced by the economic activities listed above;
  • at least 40 per cent of the eligible costs of the investment must be financed by the investors own or borrowed resources;
  • the investment must be maintained for at least five years for large enterprises and three years for SMEs, reckoned from the date of implementation of the investment;
  • the investment project must lead to a net increase in the number of employees in the establishment/organisation concerned, compared with the average number of employees over the previous 12 months;
  • employment must be created and maintained for at least three years for SMEs and five years for large enterprises;
  • the period of implementation must not exceed three years, reckoned from the date of award of an investment class certificate;
  • the tangible and intangible fixed assets acquired must be new and purchased at market conditions from third parties independent from the investor;

Promotion according to the procedure established by the Investment Promotion Act is not extended to enterprises in difficulty, for implementation of privatisation contracts or concession contracts under the Privatisation and Post-privatisation Control Act, respectively, under the Transformation and Privatisation of State-Owned and Municipal-Owned Enterprises Act as superseded and the Concessions Act, and in implementation of compensatory (offset) arrangements, as well as investments for production of products in the coal and steel industry, the shipbuilding and synthetic fibres sectors, fisheries and aquaculture, as well as in activities linked to the primary production of agricultural products listed in Annex I to the Treaty establishing the European Community, according to Commission Regulation (EC) No 800/2008 on the application of Articles 87 and 88 of the Treaty to national regional investment aid.

Promotion for initial investment in the following sectors:

  • Manufacturing industry
  • Production of electricity from renewable sources
  • Computer technologies
  • Research and development
  • Education
  • Human health care

Attractive sectors:


  • Electrical engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Electronics
  • Automotive parts manufacturing
  • Chemical Industry

Competitive advantages:

  • Export oriented sectors
  • The lowest operational cost in EU
  • Highly skilled labour force 7% with engineering degree
  • EUR 280 total average monthly compensation (Q4 2008)

The legal status of foreign nationals in Bulgaria is governed by the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Foreign Nationals Act (effective 1998), the Regulation on the Application of the Foreign Nationals Act and the Ordinance on the Terms and Procedure for Issuing Visas and Determination of the Visa Regime (effective 2008). Generally, the Bulgarian legislation concerning foreign citizens is in compliance with the EU aquis communautaire related to immigration policy.

The Foreign Nationals Act considers as foreigners all persons who are not citizens of any of the member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation (hereinafter Foreigners).

The Foreign Nationals Act does not apply to the status of the citizens of any of the member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation (hereinafter European citizens). Their legal status in Bulgaria is from the Republic of Bulgaria, as well as by the applicable Acts of the EU legislation governed by the Law on Entry, Residence and Departure of European Union Citizens and Members of Their Families.

Click here to Ask an Expert about Starting a Business in Bulgaria

Organisations that can assist with Starting a Business

  • > Eurofast

    Do you have a new business idea? Are you considering the following markets? Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, FYR Macedonia,Bosnia, Croatia, Ukraine, Russia

    More Details Visit Website
  • > Scott’s Business Travel

    Scott’s Business Travel is a trading name of Scott’s Travel Management Ltd. Founded in 1991 and trading as Scott’s Tours, the company originally offered holidays in then-communist Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union, but soon expanded to cater for all types of travel with corporate travel in particular.

    More Details Visit Website
  • > Kompass (UK) Ltd

    If you are looking to start up or expand a business overseas then you will need a targeted and reliable data list to find new customers in your new market.

    More Details Visit Website
  • > Radius

    Your Global Growth Experts. Radius helps businesses move into new markets, manage overseas operations or outsource entire global accounting and administration functions

    More Details Visit Website
  • > Medibroker – your health insurance partner around the world

    Expanding or launching a business overseas can be both exciting and rewarding. But no matter how big or small yours is there will be a number of issues to consider; administrative, financial and cultural to name just a few. Healthcare is important too but it’s a subject that’s sometimes overlooked.

    More Details Visit Website
  • > TMF Group

    TMF Group helps companies expand and invest seamlessly across international borders.

    More Details Visit Website
  • > B2B International

    B2B International is a global market research agency that specialises in b2b markets. With experience in every industry sector and country imaginable, we are well placed to help you establish your business overseas.

    More Details Visit Website

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