Staring small business in Bulgaria


  My name is Mark and i am an American living in the states. I am considering moving to Bulgaria and starting a small business possibly in Sofia, or Plovdiv or Varna but i don't know much about what there are for viable options. can you direct me to where i can gather some information that would be helpful? Thank you in advance.


it is not difficult,

you can follow these steps:

1. Visit the country, check the market, get a residency;
2. Establis a company;
3. Select the location of your fast-food restaurant, preferably with high number of people passing by or with many big companies around or government institutions - this will bring you customers directly;
4. Hire or buy the property, and do the necessary improvements and/or repairs;
5. Try to comply with all the requirements of the Food and Drinks Law, The Anti-fire requirements and the Labour law.
6. Advertise and strart your business.

Basicallly these are the main steps at the beginning. If you need additional information - feel free to ask.

Hi Kristiann,

Thank you so much for your reply. As I mentioned, I am seriously considering a move to Bulgaria to start a business. I have a few ideas but nothing concrete and I agree with you that a visit to the area would be helpful.
I have begun looking at apartment rentals in Sofia, Plovdiv, and Varna and it appears that  It would be best to obtain housing in Sofia or Plovdiv, and locate a business in Varna  since it would get the most exposure. Do you know how long the tourist season lasts on the coast and if there is reliable and convenient public transportation  between those city's?  I have an international drivers license for both auto and motorcycle but I don't know if there are any requirements for foreigners living in Bulgaria.
Also, I've heard there has been a lot of investment recently in Bulgaria from British and Russian expats  and I was wondering if  the business climate is still as favorable as I heard it was.
In speak some Spanish, French and Greek but not Bulgarian although I would certainly plan to learn it.
Finally, is Istanbul the nearest international airport or is there also one in Bulgaria?
Thank you again for your reply and I'm grateful for any additional info you can provide and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Best regards,


You can fly to sofia international airport. It quite a distance from Sofia to Varna so you will probably want to live where you have your business. Varna is reasonably cosmopolitan: Fine for living in.

The tourist season is really short. Amazingly short in fact. I don't know how people make money from it. It begins in June and ends in September. Of course it's open beforehand but there is not much activity.

There is a high turnover of restaurants in Sofia. I think it's tough to make money, although the best places do ok. If I were doing a business here I would export something or use the cheap, highly skilled locals for outsourcing IT work.

I employ a few Bulgarians on a casual basis from a company abroad and it works fine.

Good luck in your enterprise. Don't invest too much until you can see the returns coming :)

Hi all,

there are airports in Varna and Burgas as well with quite a few flights in the summer.

In general michaeldon is quite right - coming to Bulgaria to start a business is reasonable only in specific business areas. I'm working in the IT sector(and also run a company in the property and facility management sector) and I mainly work for clients outside the country or expats based in Bulgaria, as it gives me greater flexibility and I get a better value for my skills. One other sector that is good for foreigners in Bulgaria is tourism, as tourists that come to Bulgaria, buy/rent a property or use facility/property management services prefer business owners and providers that are not local, as they consider them more honest and trustworthy.

Good luck with your business idea!

Ventsislav Tomev

Hello Mark, you can see this information:

Business en Bulgaria

1.Cost of setting up a company in Bulgaria -around 400-700Euros. Registration process about 2-3 weeks. To register limited liability company have to open a bank account in local bank and deposit capital of 1Euro min. The tax of banks to opening account is around 20-40EUR

2.Cost of translations services in Bulgaria -around 5-15Euro per page. The only language accepted by All institutions is Bulgaria.

3.VAT registration in Bulgaria

The VAT registration in Bulgaria is not mandatory. Companies have to make obligatory VAT registration when a turnover greater than 50 000BGL /25 564EUR/ .The registration process takes not more then 30days and cost around 150E /accounting fee/

There are different presents of VAT: 20%, 7% , 0% and free shipping

4.Cost of accounting services in Bulgaria

Depends on the number of documents and employees. The fee of Accounting companies start from 50E per months for companies whit no activity or  for company whit 20 documents per months and one employees you will have fee about 100E   
All companies have to file an annual tax return  whether they had activity during the year or not.

Corporate tax on the annual tax profit
The tax rate for the corporate tax is 10%
Who pays corporate tax:
The entities liable to pay corporate tax are:
*The local legal entities –trade companies;
*The local legal entities that are not traders-for their profit from transactions under Article 1 of the commercial Act, as well as from leasing of movable and unmovable property;
*Thr local unincorporated entities and the insurance funds established pursuant to Article 8 of the Social Security code;
*The foreign legal entities that carry out economic activity in the country from a permanent establishment;
*The foreign unincorporated entities that carry out economic activity in the country from a permanent establishment.
Personal income tax
Annual taxation and declaring income received in 2013
Subject to tax on the common annual tax base is the income of indivuduals recived from:
•    employment relations -10%
•    economic activity different from the economic activity as sole proprietor and from other economic activity
•    renting or other leasing of rights or property for consideration’
•    assignment of rights or property
•    other sources;
The tax on the common annual tax base shall be assessed my multiplying the common annual tax base by 10% tax rate.
The income from economic activity as a sole proprietor and the income from other economic activity as perart.29 a of the PITA shall be levied with tax on the annual tax base at 15% tax rate.
The Bulgarian economy is working under currency board 1 BGN= 1.95583Euro which contributes to the stability and reduce the risk.

For more information and details please contact to me : ivankagp[at]

Hello Ivanka Petkova -> Thank you but could you please quote the source (a link preferably) to your article for copyright reasons? :)

Thank you,

Recently, the airport in Plovdiv also has opened to international flights: , but of course mostly the low cost airlines like Ryanair. I will echo the noted above that the distance between Sofia and Varna is roughly 500km, and due to the state of the roads, I would think it is not reasonable to have a business at one end of the country and leave at the other end. Using the rail or bus services is ok, but still doesn't save much time. The rail services are bad due to the state of the carts and frequent stops. Bus services are usually private, ok, but still they use the same roads as cars. There are plenty of restaurants and grocery stores, so competition is very high and hard to make any $$ in that area. Not that I have experience in that... I've just observed opening and closing restaurants all the time when I visit - same location, different owner... one conclusion - the business of the previous owner didn't make much of a profit. Consider some kind of a small family type of business where the "product" could be exported to other markets, e.g. services in IT sector, other CS via phone or internet, small parts production, etc.

on the event you need qualified assistance and inputs

hello Aurélie,
thanks for the comment,I am chief accountant and the information provaided is by my experience.
The full text you can see in the web of Bulgarian Tax administration and

Hi Mark,

Did you start your business?
Which city did you choose?
How it is going - please share!

(Moderated: no copy/paste on the forum pls)

Hi Evanka.
Tq for your set up business infos. I am taken aback when you said to open a limited company  bank account 1 million Euro.
Can you guide me a little. I actually plan to set up a yoga studio / Thai massage with Reflexology and maybe a small Malaysian style cafe . Solo business n give job  opportunities for  locals handicap.

So can you please advice me on the bank account.i worked in Sofia many years back n I still have many friends there.

Kindly advice please.

1 million euro ?  this should be a mistake

you can open a bank account in any bank here with a very small amount, say 100 BGN

youga studio and thai massage will be easy,

while opening a cafe will require more paperwork, fire dept. permission, food safety agency permission, etc.

everything is possible

1 mil ?
Can apply to "golden visa" program in Portugal to acquire european citizenship.
Its for sale...

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