From Brussels to Varna, Looking for a New Beginning
Today’s interview is with Maurice Baum, and it is special because we are at the Innowave Summit 2019, in the Palace of Sports and Culture in Varna.
Maurice arrives in Bulgaria not so long ago (August 2019), but he isn’t wasting time to set up his life again in Varna.
Name and nationality:
My Name is Maurice Baum and my ex nationality is Belgium, now I’m Bulgarian, I have my residence card, my Bulgarian car plates, my insurance and I’ll buy an apartment next week, I do things very fast, I have been in Bulgaria since the 1st of August.
Tell us a bit about you and what you do.
I have a digital media agency, which means that I can work from everywhere, from Belgium, France, and the States, I have phone calls with my clients and I don’t need to be in Belgium anymore.
Why and when did you come to Bulgaria?
There are many reasons, but ill give you the 3 major ones:
Taxes, we pay too much taxes in Belgium.
The second reason, everything costs a third in Bulgaria compared with Belgium, it's quite cheap.
The third reason is the social life, it's very different from Belgium, it is always raining in Belgium, so people don’t go much outside, social life is better in Varna than Brussels.
What do you like about your country of origin?
I don't like anything in Belgium, I have always been working for American companies, and the first part of my career was related to IT companies, the biggest companies in the world, and when I wanted to sell something to Belgium companies, they didn’t understand, the only potential clients were American companies in Brussels.
So, from the beginning, I was already upset with the Belgium attitude towards technology.
What are some differences between your country and Bulgaria?
Bulgaria is much more advanced in technology level than Belgium, as an example in Belgium restaurants waiters still takes notes with a piece of paper, here they have this electronic device for taking notes.
30 years ago, I was trying to sell, this application to Bulgarian restaurants, but they said that it was too complicated, but here I discovered, banking in Belgium is very complicated, but here with an application, I can do all by myself, the same thing in Sofia, when you call a taxi the app knows where you are and you just say where you need to go, in Belgium, first of all, you don’t find taxis, you have to look at Google maps, and its very expensive, Belgium is very old-fashioned and conservative.
And I don’t like that.
Mention one important experience you’ve had in Bulgaria.
The people I meet are very enthusiastic about doing business with me, and I’m very interested to do business with them also, the idea is to attract Belgium and French investors, to move to Varna to save costs, because is so expensive in Belgium and France, we are going to convince them to invest in Varna and increase the employment in Varna.
If you have the chance to change something in Bulgaria, what will that be?
The roads, the streets are too narrow, the way people park their cars, unfortunately, I already scratched my car, besides that, I don’t know enough to say something more.
But I’m not here to change things, I’m here to enjoy life and have fun with the people.
What languages do you speak other than French?
I’m Learning Bulgarian once a week, the alphabet is a bit complicated, but I’ll make it, I’m very motivated because I want to be fully integrated.
What countries have you been to?
I worked for 15 years in London, not full time but between 2-4 days a week, I love London, but now I prefer Varna.
How is your business going with your agency?
It is a digital media agency which specializes in gardening, we do websites and SEO, I work with people in Bucharest, and I have a very good webmaster in Alexandria, in Egypt. It is a multinational company, we aren’t a lot of people, but the people that I work with are top level.
I’m not going to prospect the Bulgarian market for gardening because it is too complicated, we will have to translate and redo everything, but I’ll do something new, that is attracting investors to Varna, that is much more interesting and motivating.
What advice would you give to other people who would like to come to live in Bulgaria?
Hurry up! Hurry up before it is too late!
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