Macedonian non-governmental organization Macedonia2025, in partnership with CANSEE Canadian Serbian Business Association, organized a business forum in Belgrade, on June 22, with the idea of promoting better business cooperation among companies in the region.
Agriculture, IT sector, food and beverage production, energy efficiency, mining are already recognized sectors with the highest potential in Serbia and countries in the region. Companies have good business relationships, and for enabling even better business conditions in the market, and attracting more investors, it is necessary to create a better regulatory framework, the Forum participants agreed.
We have an opportunity to work together and win together
We are in South-Eastern Europe together and we need to take this opportunity to build something together. If we don’t work together then we all lose. John Bitove, MK20205 Board Member, and Svetozar Janevski, leading regional businessman.
Serbia, Macedonia, and the Western Balkans are small. It is difficult for our individual countries to scale, find investment, and to find talent. However, when we look beyond borders and work together we are capable of growing our capacity, attracting investment, and becoming international brands.
We must sell the region to investors. “When they invest in Macedonia and Serbia they are not just investing in those individual countries but in the whole region with its talent and potential”. Jelena Bulatovic, Serbian Association of Managers
An important part of working together is increasing trade with one another. When the region functions better as a seamless regional market then we will be more attractive to investors and will be better placed to export to the rest of Europe. Wolfgang Maringer, Foreign Investment Council Vice President, Macedonia.
We must be brave and ambitious to grow
To grow, our companies and countries need to be ambitious. We need to be brave enough to take the risks that enable growth.
“We are brave enough to think we can succeed in Europe and this bravery drives our strategy and vision”. Rados Vukicevic, CEO at Tikves Winery.
“There are problems but with a single vision and persistence there are no barriers”. Mihail Mateski, CEO and Partner at Greentech.
The government has an important role, but private business is the driver
Business drives growth but the government has a role to facilitate business, particularly with infrastructure, green technology, and education.
“To achieve innovation, we cannot do the same thing with the same people. We need to change education at the youngest level.” Svetozar Janevski
We need more graduates with IT skills and practical business skills. Anthony Naumoff and Rados Vukicevic.
The government can also ensure cross-border logistics work smoothly. Goods should not be spoiling on the border. Mitko Andonov, Business Development at Kolid International
Better legal protection is also needed. A Macedonian company doing business in Serbia and vice versa needs to feel as secure as a local company.
Western European countries are showing us the way. Immigration provides workers with skills but also workers at the low-wage end where there is a supply shortfall. Lastly immigration also helps with the viability of country’s pension schemes.
Corporate Social Responsibility
For foreign direct investment companies, investment in a company is an extension of their home country’s international relations. The company is not just representing itself. Todd Romaine, Vice President of CSR at Nevsun Resources
Good corporate social responsibility is not just about the company and its products. Companies have opportunities to change their societies for the better by increasing social responsibility awareness in the community. It is about both companies and individual looking around to see where they can make a difference. Tanja Dusanic, Legal and CA Director Serbia and Montenegro, Apatinska Brewery
Inspirational insights of successful Macedonians in Serbia
What is success? It is an overused pose in the Facebook age. The secret is not in social networks but in self-evaluation. Filip Luneski, Sr Category and Customer Marketing Manager for Europe at Molson Coors; President of Macedonian Business Association in Serbia
We are so close to Macedonia, but we don’t feel like the diaspora. Sometimes we are more connected to the diaspora in places like Australia and Canada than the diaspora closer to home. Ana Koeshall, Executive Director at Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation and Biljana Markovic Stamenova, Macedonia2025 Executive Director
We have lost the power of citizens in the region. It is not just for companies and governments to make a difference. Ana Koeshall, Executive Director at Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation
Capitalism works when citizens give back to their societies and collaborate more. Robert Arsov, Chairman of Macedonia2025.