28 Septmber, 2017
According to the bankers, Balkan region has the biggest potential to grow when united
Business café is a known among the entrepreneurs initiative started by a Croatian business woman, Kristina Hercegovic and spread around the entire region by her energetic colleagues.
The Balkan Forum team visited one of local the Business café gatherings in Skopje on October 5th 2017, led by Katerina Kotlareska – Manevska, and one of her prominent guests at the meeting was International Finance Corporation Representative for Macedonia and Montenegro, Zoran Martinovski.
Martinovski is optimistic about the region’s future. In his opinion the potential is huge, unused and the only thing lacking is the strong leadership, which would bring positive, good energy to the people.
“The key capital of every country are people. If you treat your people well, if you energize them, if you demonstrate commitment, people can do miracle”, Martinovski emphasised.
While he thinks that there’s nothing wrong in leaving home country in the pursuit for better education, he highlighted that the problem is that educated people don’t see their future in their home country.
“The key challenge to Macedonia and the rest of the Balkans is to keep our kids here,” Martinovski underlined.
He pointed out that back in time, when the Balkan region was united, it was one of the most dynamic regions in Europe.
“That was also the case of Macedonia, when it was the part of the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Austro – Hungarian Empire, even Yugoslavia,” he noticed.
He also highlighted that territory fragmentation brings very bad results to the economies.
“The fragmentation created constraints for business cooperation, and if we stay as fragmented islands that do not talk to each other, in the constant dispute or a quarrel, we’ll always be a territory that will be perceived as risky, and a place, what we bankers call, a place without an abstract.,” Martinovski concluded.
“We need to reintegrate economically, the world is looking on us as a one region.” he says.
According to him, the people of the Balkans are tired of populism, they’re ready to work together, and despite the fact that the key focus for Martinovski are corporations, he sees big potential in small and medium enterprises.
“The private sector is a main driver of growth, employment and prosperity“ he noticed.
As he sees working with the private sector as very rewarding, he highlighted that entrepreneurs are striving for practical solutions and are always one step ahead, however they also need help, information and support.
“There is a constant need to feed the entrepreneurs with latest information, (…) entrepreneurs are always looking for the opportunities to network, to expand their client base, to expand the universe of the supporting institutions” however most of the governments are still unaware of this fact.
“The biggest support I can get from my government is not to interfere into my business,” Martinvoski described the attitude that most entrepreneurs share.
In his opinion the potential of the region is underestimated, however countries are striving for strong and modern leadership
“What we need is a leadership that could again infuse energy into people,” he concluded.
Watch interview with Zoran Martinovski
Martinovski: Our region has a great potential, but we need strong and modern leadership