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Attracting digital nomads for more tech-savviness in Bulgaria

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What is the profile of a typical digital nomad? Tech-savvy, educated, usually aged between 25 and 40, these are the key characteristics the digital nomad persona is based on, according to the MBO Partners’ 2020 State of Independence research study. Due to the shift to remote work and despite the travel restrictions, the number of digital nomads has skyrocketed in 2020, reaching some 10.9 million in the US alone, with a prediction that their number will exceed 1 billion on a global scale by 2035. While nearly half of traditional workers express a desire to become part of the digital nomadic community, on a regional level, Romania is projected to be among the top 3 digital nomad destinations (along with Canada and the UK), according to the Digital Nomad Index. 

Digital nomads can indisputably provide countries they visit with technical expertise, additional revenue, coming from their and their families’ consumption, and can contribute to Southeastern European countries’ reputation as innovation hubs. With the purpose of providing insights into the digital nomad movement and how more countries from the region can become top digital nomad destinations, growRemotes, a community invested in popularizing the benefits of the digital nomad movement, is organizing for the first time the growRemotes Summit, which will take place on April 22 and 23, 2021, to broadcast online the expertise of 21 lecturers from 7 countries regarding the challenges and opportunities of combining remote work with traveling. 

As noted by Milena Hadzhiivanova, founder of the growRemotes community in Bulgaria and organizer of the growRemotes Summit, one of the topics that will be addressed at the event is what Bulgarians can do on the country, business, and society level to make Bulgaria a top destination for people who work from everywhere. “Targeted efforts are needed to bring us closer to the positions of countries such as Romania, Estonia, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia,” Hadzhiivanova stated.

The conference is free and open to anyone interested in the topic but requires registration

Low living costs are clearly not enough 

The growth in popularity of working from different geographical points all over the world brings about the need for many changes – from creating new employer practices to implementing new state policies. Some countries have taken very targeted actions that have a positive impact on the economy and tourism. Some of them are accelerating the digitalization of the entire administration, the establishment of settlements for digital nomads, emerging co-working and co-living spaces, and the development of tourism in favorable areas for remote work. According to an international survey that classifies countries according to the ‘Digital nomad index’, Bulgaria ranks 62nd. As it turns out, stable and fast Internet connection and the comparatively low cost of living are not enough for a country to be ranked among the top countries. The happiness of the nation, the presence of diverse ethnic groups, and the tendency of employers in the country to hire employees to work remotely are also important for the formation of a high ‘Digital nomad’ index.

Digital nomadism: a multispectral approach

The growRemotes Summit, which will combine both English and Bulgarian as working languages, is set between 2 and 6:30 p.m. Lecturers have broad entrepreneurial expertise in the spheres of management, communications, and coaching, with some of the keynote speakers at the event including Milena Hadzhiivanova, Managing Director at HVision, Ozzi Jarvinen, Founder of iglu, Steve Keil, EMEA Partner Manager, and Sasha Bezuhanova, Founder of MOVE.BG, senior executive, and angel investor. Together, the speakers are going to explore the topics of skills sharing and cultural environments, work connectivity, legal challenges with remote work, budgeting tips, while also sharing their nomad life experiences and advising on how digital nomads can expand their creativity. Special attention will also be dedicated to the opportunities digital nomads offer to Bulgaria and how the local ecosystem can be made more attractive to e-employees. 

The event will be broadcast from Launchee, which will be responsible for hosting and streaming the 2-day conference. The main sponsors of growRemotes Summit are iCard and SuperHosting.bg, while The Recursive is among the media partners. 

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Viktoria is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive and a sophomore-standing student at the American University in Bulgaria. Combining her Business Administration studies while mapping the Southeastern European startup ecosystem is a positive-sum game for her as she has the chance to interact with the most active entrepreneurs in the region. Her favorite topics include venture capital structures, investments, as well as innovations in the scitech and fintech sectors.