The Bulgarian Association of Software Companies (BASSCOM) announced their annual Barometer report, marking a historic forecast for the nation’s software sector. Projections unveiled during the event indicated a remarkable milestone: an expected surge in revenues to surpass BGN 8 billion in 2023, an unprecedented achievement for the industry.
The Barometer, a long-standing yearly publication offering insights into Bulgaria’s software sector since its inception in 2009, presented a comprehensive analysis conducted by CBN Panoff, Stoycheff & Co. Key figures from both the industry and government convened at this crucial gathering, including BASSCOM Management Board Chairman Dobroslav Dimitrov, AIBEST Chairman Ilia Krastev, Labour and Social Policy Minister Ivanka Shalapatova, and Deputy Economy Minister Ivaylo Shotev.
George Brashnarov, an esteemed BASSCOM Advisory Board member, highlighted the revised growth projections stemming from a sobering realization encountered after the third quarter of the year. Major markets in Western Europe and the US indicated a notable slowdown, prompting the industry to recalibrate its expectations. The software sector, which previously anticipated a 20% growth, has now revised its estimates to 12.1% growth for the current year. This marks a significant departure from the steady trend of 20%-plus growth observed between 2015 and 2022, culminating in a peak of 26.5% growth in 2021.
The sector has been a robust employer, boasting a workforce of over 58,300 individuals, which accounts for 1.7% of the total workforce in Bulgaria. Each job in this sector contributes significantly to taxes and social security, exceeding the national average by more than three times. These contributions have been a substantial boon for the national economy, with software companies anticipated to contribute more than BGN 2 billion in tax and social security contributions for 2023.
The industry’s expectations from Bulgarian institutions were prominently highlighted during the event. A call for stable tax and social security frameworks, active participation of high-tech sectors in governmental dialogues, institutional digitalization, and educational reforms were among the prominent demands. Government representatives, including Labour and Social Policy Minister Ivanka Shalapatova and Deputy Economy Minister Ivaylo Shotev, assured commitments toward repositioning Bulgaria’s international image and fostering collaborative partnerships between the government and businesses.
The shared sentiment was that while the sector braces for an anticipated deceleration in revenue growth, it stands poised to adapt to the evolving economic landscape, aligning its strategies to navigate this transitional phase effectively.