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Business Culture

Doing business in another country is always different than domestic trade. The Danish embassy in Sofia would like to assist Danish companies in getting the best possible start on the Bulgarian market. Below you can read more about the business culture in Bulgaria.

When having a business meeting with Bulgarian business men and authorities there is almost the same principles as on the western market, but you have to expect a different culture.
The citizens of Bulgaria are kind and sociable, but during negotiations they tend to bring new elements on track relatively late in the negotiating process.


Anti-corruption

Danish companies are encouraged to prepare themselves to face corruption in Bulgaria.

Both EU and The Bulgarian Center for the Study of Democracy, CDS (www.cds.bg) believe that the Bulgarian Government should prioritise the fight against corruption even more. CDS emphasizes that 2/3 of the Bulgarian citizens consider the government being ineffective in the fight against corruption.

The Danish embassy in Sofia can assist and advise Danish companies in terms of corruption in Bulgaria.

Clothing

There is no specific demand as to how you should dress yourself, even though very relaxed clothes would be met with a bit wonder. Casual, conservative and neatly clothing is suitable for most business meetings and social gatherings (lunch, dinner, concert and theatre appointments).

Language

The Bulgarian language dates from the slavic family of languages, that is spread in the Eastern- and Central part of Europe and most countries in the Balkans and the northern part of Asia. The Cyrilic alphabet is used in Bulgaria.

Even though many, especially the young generation, speak English and German, there can still be some language barriers. Most Bulgarians prefer to negotiate in their native language. It is therefore important to be assisted with an interpreter, which results in a longer negotiation process than expected.

Etiquette

Bulgarians don't mind to invite or be invited for lunch or dinner. Table manners are usual relatively informal.

Gifts with or without the logo of your company (everything from pens to T-shirts or similar) are welcomed. A bouquet of flowers always has to contain an odd number of flowers, which indicates a pleasant occasion.

Exchange of business cards is very common, so we suggest that you to bring enough when you have business meetings in Bulgaria.

Office hours

The general opening hours for banks and offices from Monday to Friday is 9am to 5pm. Certain offices are closed for an hour around lunchtime.

Shops are usually open from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 8pm, and some are also open on Sunday. Certain kiosks, restaurants and pharmacies are open 24 hours.

If a national holiday falls on a weekday close to the weekend, for example on a Thursday, then Friday will also be a holiday. This provides a longer weekend. On the other hand the employees have to work on a Saturday in compensation for the extra day off.