No, that wasn’t a typo—the small, heart-shaped European country with beautiful scenery may soon also be known for its budding tech startup ecosystem. A while back we reviewed some of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s leading startups for 2017—it’s only been a few months, and already a new lineup of regional tech players are revving up to launch in 2018.
Due to its growing economy and highly educated population, Bosnia and Herzegovina has an especially strong workforce of professionals in IT and engineering fields. Programming jobs are on the rise and cybersecurity, VR, and mobile app offerings are the norm among local startups.
The following are the top 9 reasons why Bosnia and Herzegovina might just be the next Silicon Valley.
9. Low tax rates.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s corporate tax rate is only 10%, making it 3.5-4.7 times lower than in the United States. The country’s sales taxes (VAT) is at 17%.
8. High level of education.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to one of the most competitive universities in Europe and leading university in the region, the University of Sarajevo—and after adapting to the Bologna system of education, the country’s citizens now boast some of the highest education levels and rates of multilingualism on the continent. Starting from middle school, youth are taught at least 3 languages and computer/IT topics in science classes.
7. Government support for private businesses.
The local government supports private businesses, both financially and legally. Additionally, quasi-government entities such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development—funded by the EU, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the Central European Initiative, the Balkan Region Special Fund, and the Netherlands, among others—provide resources supporting local businesses.
6. Quick and easy registration for private companies.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, registering a private business takes about seven weeks—the only requirement being one director/shareholder, not even a physical office is required. And the cost? A $11 dollar set up fee and and minimum capital in the amount of $1.2 dollars.
5. Ample connections and accessibility options for other European destinations.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is connected to all the major cities in Europe by major roads, railways, and air transportation routes. The country has strong political ties with other EU nations as well as Russia, Turkey, and Indonesia, to name a few.
4. Free healthcare.
The country—like many others in the world—provides high quality healthcare free of charge to all Bosnia and Herzegovina citizens.
3. Low living expenses and cost of accommodations.
Low cost of living and accommodations is one of the country’s biggest draws—for example, an apartment in the city will run around $200 dollars a month, including water and electricity. An entrepreneur could live an active lifestyle on $500-550 dollars a month, covering food and entertainment as well.
2. A cost-effective workforce.
Bootstrapped startups won’t have to break the bank to hire qualified employees—in Bosnia and Herzegovina, qualified professionals are highly affordable. General service jobs (e.g., waiters, cashiers) pay on average $200-300 dollars a month, while specialists such as programmers, engineers, doctors make $400 a month and up.
1. A surplus of highly educated, talented young professionals.
Not only is talent affordable, but it’s also plentiful: the country has one of the highest number of highly educated candidates for hire in the Balkans. Most of these professionals come from fields like software engineering and computer science.
In short, if you’re an entrepreneur looking for an affordable European launching pad for your tech venture, Bosnia and Herzegovina may be right up your alley. With a low cost of living and deep pool of qualified talent, the country may soon be known as the Silicon Valley of the Balkans.