Bulgaria - the silicon valley of Europe?


A few weeks ago BBC posted an article saying that even though Bulgaria is one of the poorest countries in the European Union, its IT industry has showed constant and rapid growth. BBC reminded that Bulgaria “produced 40% of Eastern Bloc computers” during the Cold War “had more computers per person than almost any other country," and “its IT industry was worth over USD 13BN per year.”

According to an article  by Marko Benda, the owner of BackOfficle, “Bulgaria is one of the leading countries with a high number of top Multinational ICT corporations in Eastern Europe. Among these multinational corporations are HP, SAP, Johnson Controls, VMware, CISCO, ProSyst and Atos among others.” Regarding the best destinations to outsource all over the world, Bulgaria was the only European country that was included in the 2014 Top 10 AT Kearney Global Services Location Index. “Bulgaria is a home for advanced IT centers, serving both national and multinational companies focused on traditional software development for players like CSC and SAP,” according to the 2014 report

Benda wrote that Bulgaria’s ICT industry generates approximately 10% of the total national GDP. “With respect to software sales, the Bulgarian market is expected to rise by 3% between 2014 and 2015, from 242 million BGN to 249 million BGN. This implies that this market is growing with respect to the use of ICT,” Benda added.

A Bulgarian IT entrepreneur told BBC that there is a good chance for Bulgaria to become Europe’s Silicon Valley if the country lowers its corruption levels. According to a 2014 report by Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption, out of 175 countries, Bulgaria ranks 69th with a corruption score of 43 out of 100 and its enforcement levels are “little.”

“My dream is to transform Bulgaria in the Silicon Valley of Europe. This means top education, entrepreneurial thinking and highly developed startup ecosystem. This will make Bulgaria the capital of innovation, technology, entrepreneurship and lead big technology companies and investment funds and all the tools for smart growth. So far I have focused on education - education of software engineers and IT specialists. We already made revolution. Education programmers will never be what they were several years ago. We introduced the term ‘Software Academy.’ We proved the ineffectiveness of traditional universities and schools, proved the need to build an academy to teach your staff yourself, if you have a serious company and want to develop,” said Software University co-founder Svetlin Nakov.

“For me "silicon valley" is a dream, a lofty goal, an inspiration, a mission in my life, hard to reach, motivating, serious, inspired, boundless, endless, contagious, crazy, crazy, impossible, but ...worth it!,” Nakov added.

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