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Digital SMEs in Bulgaria
The first ever mapping of the digital SMEs in Bulgaria was initiated by MOVE.BG together with various stakeholders from the digital ecosystem. It unites key organizations, hubs, and companies, which develop digital knowledge and business in Bulgaria.’s first initiative was the digital SMEs mapping Innovation Ship Bulgaria Digital.

Why do we do it?

The rapid development of the digital economy is the single most important driver of innovation, competitiveness, and growth and requires a special focus on the Bulgarian digital businesses. They are the number one vehicle for economic growth and increase of Bulgaria’s export potential. The research provides the Bulgarian digital SMEs with the opportunity to benchmark themselves in their own ecosystem. It presents a picture of the current state of this highly potential economic segment in Bulgaria as well as a starting point for policy recommendations and supporting initiatives.

What are the highlights?

The research confirmed the potential for innovative digital businesses to become a major factor in the growth of the Bulgarian economy. 91% of the companies aim at the international markets. For 21% of these companies, 67% of their turnover comes from exporting their products or services. Compared to the export potential of our economy today (only 21%*), the capital these businesses attract is very impactful for the quality income and the overall development of the country.
32% of the companies with less than three years of experience are cashflow positive. Still, though 40% of the companies have already had experience in raising capital, access to funds for growth is tipped as one of the biggest obstacles to their development.

The research showed that 26% of the digital SMEs have already registered patents or trademarks.
In 57% of the surveyed companies more than half of the employees are under 30 years old and 74% plan to hire employees in the next 12 months. This is, perhaps, one of the most important answers to the question of how to retain the young people in Bulgaria.

The red flag coming from the research is that only 9% of the digital companies see Bulgarian universities as a factor for their development and a source of talents. The core of the digital business has its natural habitat in the academic centers of developed countries worldwide. Bulgaria will hardly be able to develop its full potential for an innovative economy if the universities do not become incubators for the knowledge of the future and laboratories for experiments and innovations.

What the future looks like? will continue to tackle the key challenges before our digital ecosystem – shortage of funds for growth, little access to successful partnerships and networks, limited knowledge of the markets, and lack of consistent state policies in support of the digital businesses.