Coliving Bulgaria Opening in Bansko Soon
by Anna Pelova
Jurgen and Ricardo met in Coworking Bansko, became friends, and decided to set up a coliving space in town. Even though they were looking for properties all around Bansko, they found the one right above our coworking space. The co-founder Jurgen tells us the story of how he and Ricardo met and created Coliving Bulgaria.
– What brought you to Bulgaria?
– I wanted to escape Belgium for a long time. I had never heard of Bulgaria, it wasn’t even on my list. But I had a checklist of what do countries need to have for me to move there. And they I came here and I was like, ‘Oh, it actually ticks all my checkboxes.’ The taxes was one of them because in Belgium that’s 50% to 60%, the highest tax rate you can get. I always think like this – if you pay 10% taxes, you are basically working for the government until January and then you work for yourself. In Belgium, you basically work until July and then you get to work for yourself.
The country to move to needed to me safe, easy to set up a business, be in the European Union.
– So now you pay taxes only in Bulgaria, you don’t pay them in Belgium?
I moved my residence almost immediately here. The first time I came here was for 10 days to test it and then I came for a few months and decided to just move here. I already had my business, I invest in websites that are already profitable and I make them more profitable or at least keep them as profitable as they are already. When I came to Bulgaria, I tried to start a coworking space in Kazanlak which didn’t work out for multiple reasons.
– When you came to Coworking Bansko, how did you and Ricardo met and decided to set up a coliving space?
I barely remember how we first met. I think we went to the cinema and for sushi. I remember Ricardo being a friend, that’s the first memory I have of him. I told him about my coliving idea and he was like, ‘Oh, I am also interested in something like this.’
– How did you find the place?
My housekeeper Mariela started looking and asking around, she’s really good when it comes to connecting with locals. One day, she found five or six options for us to look at. We negotiated with one of them but then I found I from the previous owner that he was paying an enormous heating bill. There was one other option but it was too far from Coworking Bansko. We also heard that there will be two apartments that will be available after the high season. Now we have three apartments above the coworking space.
– What are your and Ricardo’s roles?
We don’t have clearly defined roles. I will definitely be the ‘on the ground’ person because he likes traveling and I don’t. I will be responsible for welcoming people here and Ricardo will do everything that’s online.
– How do you imagine the experience?
The coworking space is just beneath, going down two flights of stairs and entering a door. I think most of the social life will happen here. I imagined it to be for like-minded entrepreneurs living together. In the ideal situation, we will also have a SPA area. We have six bedrooms in total now.
– Do you plan to expand it in the future?
We’re definitely interested in renting more apartments in the building. We’re starting on a small scale first because maybe there will be a lot of challenges that we didn’t see coming. We don’t want to start something huge from the beginning.
– When are you launching?
Officially, we plan to open on May 1st. Apparently, we are already fully booked. I need to give credit to Ricardo who brought all the people.
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