The Municipality of Plovdiv (through Invest Plovdiv) purposefully takes steps to support the growth of the IT industry by providing incentives for start-up businesses and investing in infrastructure with projects for coworking spaces and high-speed internet.
Plovdiv has become an increasingly attractive destination for the IT business in recent years, with as many as 146 companies in the city at the moment, according to the DEV.BG job board. With a growing startup scene and a strategic location in Southeast Europe, the city offers a rich mix of advantages for companies looking to establish a presence in the region. Both large companies such as MentorMate, Proxiad SEE, SEEBURGER, Prime Holding, and smaller ones – ZebrineX, Speed – Software & Network Solutions and PODIX – choose this city in order to create or develop and grow their business. The proximity of Plovdiv to the capital, as well as the presence of universities such as Plovdiv University “Paisiy Hilendarski” and the Technical University, are some of the most frequently mentioned reasons for companies in the technology sector to develop there.
At the moment, over 140 IT companies have offices in the City Under the Hills, and there are 167 active ads for experts as of today. In the following lines, we will look at some of the reasons why Plovdiv is established as a top destination for the IT business and the opportunities for those who choose to develop in this dynamic city.
Plovdiv is a location for many international IT companies of all sizes, including Scalefocus (leading provider of software solutions and services for digital transformation), MentorMate (software applications in healthcare, education, agriculture, etc.), Proxiad SEE (from cloud- based products for mobile banking and insurance, to platforms for energy business and sales), SEEBURGER (software solutions and platforms for business), ZebrineX (consulting services and software solutions), CodeCoda (e-commerce) and others. These companies have chosen Plovdiv as a location for their IT business for various reasons, including the highly qualified personnel in the city, competitive labor prices and the favorable business environment.
“The decision to open an office in Plovdiv in 2012 was a logical next step for MentorMate in response to the expansion of the company, namely to open local offices in the country. Plovdiv attracted us with the opportunity for development of the IT sector. At that time, there were very few offices of software companies in the city, as most were located in Sofia. As the second largest city in Bulgaria, Plovdiv has universities offering specialties in the field, and over time we have built close ties with Plovdiv University “Paisiy Hilendarski”, Technical University – Sofia, branch Plovdiv and the University of Food Technology – Plovdiv” – Petko Stoyanov, Software Development Manager & Office Manager – Plovdiv, MentorMate.
Several universities and technical schools are active in Plovdiv, producing a steady stream of talented graduates in fields such as computer science and engineering. In addition, the good standard of living in Plovdiv is more affordable than in other European cities, which allows companies to offer competitive salaries and benefits to their prospective employees.
“In Plovdiv there are proven universities and schools with technical disciplines that provide good training and specialization to those wishing to develop in the IT field. The Proxiad SEE office in Plovdiv opened its doors in 2007, and at the moment it employs over 60 specialists, most of whom started their professional experience there. Our team here consists of specialists with extensive expertise needed for the development and maintenance of software solutions and outsourced business processes. The list of roles consists of software engineers, quality assurance specialists, technical project managers, business analysts, EDI specialists and others. Each of our colleagues has a different experience in the industry – from trainees starting our training programs with basic knowledge to experts with over 15 years of experience” – Alexander Milev – Executive Director, Proxiad SEE.
The Municipality of Plovdiv (through Invest Plovdiv) purposefully takes steps to support the growth of the IT industry by providing incentives for start-up businesses and investing in infrastructure with projects for coworking spaces and high-speed internet. The Bulgarian government, and local authorities in particular, actively promote the development of the IT sector in the country and Plovdiv is one of the cities that benefit from this support. The Municipality maintains a favorable environment for foreign investment and implements policies to support the growth of the IT industry. A good example of this is the fixed corporate tax (10%) and a specific package of services provided by Invest Plovdiv, including preliminary research and consultations, recruitment support and local media promotion.
All of these factors contribute to the city’s status as an attractive destination for technology companies looking to establish a presence in Southeast Europe.
The strategic location is also one of the great advantages of Plovdiv. The city is located at the crossroads of several major international transport routes, making it easily accessible from other parts of Europe and beyond. Plovdiv is also well connected by air, with daily flights to major European cities via Plovdiv Airport. This makes it easier for IT companies to carry out business processes with customers and partners from all over the world.
“Opening an office in Plovdiv was a natural step for us in our process of development and search for talents in a still “open” market. The city’s potential was and continues to be indisputable – excellent macroclimate and infrastructure, communicative location and proximity to the capital, high-quality education with two well-established universities with IT specialties. Key people from our programming teams were from Plovdiv, and this warm relationship also quickly turned our radar towards the City under the hills” – Georgi Golev, Team Lead Mapping Management and Vasil Zhekov, Team Lead SAP Development at SEEBURGER.
Other favourable factors:
Startup Innovation: Plovdiv has a thriving startup ecosystem with a growing community of entrepreneurs, investors and accelerators (eg Startup Grind Plovdiv, the local unit of the global community of entrepreneurs, and Endava, a global software company with its own investment unit). This helps create a dynamic and innovative environment for the IT industry to thrive.
Availability of office space: The city has a variety of office space, including co-working spaces, tech parks and business centers. These spaces are equipped with modern amenities and infrastructure, making them ideal for IT business needs.
Cultural diversity and lifestyle: Plovdiv is a lively and cultural city with a rich history and a wide range of entertainment options. In their free time, the city’s IT professionals enjoy a diverse culinary scene, music and art festivals, and many parks and outdoor recreation areas.
Developed network of partners and suppliers: The IT industry in Plovdiv benefits from a strong network of partners and suppliers, including software development companies, hardware and service providers. This allows companies to access the resources they need to grow their business.
What is happening on the Plovdiv IT scene
Plovdiv hosts IT events throughout the entire year. From conferences to hackathons, networking events to seminars, there is always something happening in Plovdiv to satisfy the interests of both technology enthusiasts and professionals, as well as the wider student community. The various events provide a suitable specialized platform to learn new skills and connect people with similar interests in the various fields of IT technologies. The latest trends in programming, cyber security, data analysis, artificial intelligence and more are also featured.
“SEEBURGER has been developing teams of developers and technical consultants in Plovdiv for 15 years. From the very beginning, we have been active participants in the development not only of Plovdiv, but also of the region as the second largest IT center in Bulgaria. We actively interact with educational institutions from the region, participate in technological conferences and various professional networks with the aim of developing the competencies of the community. We are happy to partner with the Bulgarian Java User Group and thus contribute to the development of an exciting IT environment.” – Georgi Andreev, Head of Development; Mariyan Valchev, Team Lead Applications, and Stoyan Atanasov, Team Lead Applications.
Often IT companies themselves contribute to the overall business environment in Plovdiv by organizing their own technology events, such as MentorMate’s DevTalks.
“We always try to hold local technical presentations under our MentorMate DevTalks brand and thus support the development of the local IT community. Our regular training programs help the city’s talents to enter the software sector or retrain in another area of it.”, says Petko Stoyanov, MentorMate.
Another vivid example is Proxiad SEE’s PlovDev, which is also one of the largest IT events in the country, held precisely in Plovdiv for the past ten years and gathers talents from various technological fields. The main part of his program are lectures on topics such as innovations in the world of technology, novelties in different programming languages, tried and tested techniques, useful practices in the everyday life of programmers. The guest speakers are well-known figures in the industry with many years of experience. For 2023, the event is yet to be announced.
“Proxiad SEE is the creator and organizer of the largest IT conference in the city – PlovDev, with the purpose to gather the IT community, share experience, news and trends in the world of technology. Every year we support a charitable cause, with all funds that we have raised being donated. In 2022, PlovDev celebrated its 10th anniversary edition with many interesting topics, speakers, games and prizes”, says Alexander Milev, Proxiad SEE.
Plovdiv – a good place for development of different technologies
All the IT companies in the city are betting on the latest technologies and trends in the sector to provide suitable conditions for the growth of both your own experts and future personnel from the field.
“10 years ago we started with a few developers and QA specialists. Today, the Plovdiv office is our second largest in the country, and our team here consists of 180 colleagues working in all areas: .NET, Java, Front-end, Mobile, QA, Cloud & DevOps, Data & Analytics, Design and others ”, says Petko Stoyanov, MentorMate.
With its unique combination of favorable factors and advantages, Plovdiv is becoming a kind of technological hub with attractive value both for the IT business in general and for anyone who wants to start a successful career in this sector.
“Our Plovdiv team already numbers over 50 specialists and is of key importance for the company’s strategic development. We are successfully developing Java programmers and Mapping Management consultants, and in 2022 we created an entirely new Cloud Support engineering team for the site. Our very office here carries a unique, irresistible charge. The spirit of this eternal city, where time has its own course, lives in a charming symbiosis with our dynamic technological setting”, shares Tsvetina Partsova, Recruitment Lead, SEEBURGER.
Some upcoming IT events:
- JProfessionals Plovdiv – on April 1 this year, the first of the series of sessions for Java professionals begins.
- Launch of European Digital Innovation Hub Trakia – The event will take place on 20 April 2023 and marks the launch of the Trakia Digital Innovation Hub, where prominent experts in the field of cyber security, funding opportunities and digital business transformation will talk more about your experience. It will include two panel discussions with an opportunity for questions from the audience and will conclude with a networking cocktail.
- beer – a series of events in combination with tasting of different types of beer and discussions with the main focus – Java. Organized by a different IT company every year, the upcoming session will be hosted by Accenture.
- Dev Bites – Under the title “From IT specialists for IT specialists”, this is a special event on the occasion of the opening of a new office of the company Nemetschek Bulgaria. Dev Bites bets on afterwork activities with a markedly free and informal spirit. Each edition also includes several types of pizza + the obligatory beer.