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October 2015

Topmost mobile technologies expert Tomi Ahonen will envision Macedonia as an IT hub

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From November 18 to 20 the Macedonia Economic Summit in Skopje will present ideas and best practices in how to advance industry and business in Macedonia. Macedonia2025 invited experts from more than 15 countries from the Balkan region and from around the world who will present their analysis, ideas and programs for economic development.

Tomi Ahonen, whom Forbes rates one of the top mobile experts in the world, is a keynote speaker at the Summit. Mr. Ahonen, who has filled executive positions in Nokia, advises a number of countries such as Singapore, Finland, Malaysia and Ireland, on bringing about digital transformation. Mr. Ahonen has regularly speaks at events in Silicon Valley and Tokyo and has spoken at more than 100 conferences around the world. He has written twelve books and provided his input into more than 140 publications where he has predicted future trends in technology.

Mr. Ahonen is a keynote speaker at the Summit in Skopje where he will talk about the South Korean  digital miracle and about the development of this sector in Kenya, Ireland, South Africa and Columbia. Furthermore, he will relate examples from his work in Europe about the possibility of Macedonia developing into a smart technologies hub.

Macedonia2025 is especially honored that many professionals and experts from Macedonia who work abroad in successful and famous companies have signed up to participate in the Summit. People such as Filip Misovski from SAP in Germany, Petar Kajevski from Oracle in Austria, Dino Gramatikov from Inmarsat in Switzerland, Bistra Kumbaroska from Impact Hub Vienna, Lou Naumovski from Kinross Gold Corp. in Russia and many others, are eager to give their contribution to the vision of a more successful and more advanced Macedonia.

By unselfishly sharing knowledge, but also by expanding the capacities for such knowledge to be absorbed, Macedonia can transform itself into a center where technology is developed. What is significant about economic development is the need for some segments in the industry to transform, to interact with others and to try to integrate with industries and sectors outside Macedonia.

Macedonia2025 would like to invite professionals, entrepreneurs, analysts and those who are generally interested in business and technology, to connect with the attendees of the Summit and to work on their own vision of developing a company or a capacity.

 

Interview with Sonja Smuc – Managing Director of the Slovenian Managers’ Association

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1.       What are the challenges and difficulties that small economies of the former Yugoslavia, including Slovenia and Macedonia face?

Sonja Smuc: Slovenia and Macedonia, we are both new kids on the block with all the enthusiasm and problems that come with it. Although being small can be an advantage, and new seems interesting, in the world of global economy and politics the combination of small and new is a tricky one and usually means less influence on global market and policy. Therefore small countries have to develop special strategies, some call it ‘size-strategies’ to be successful in modern world and to become brands in its own right. I believe that both Slovenia and Macedonia are still figuring out this strategies. While joining EU, NATO and euro zone was a good move for Slovenia, last decade prooved that that is just not enough. To be recognised as an attractive, export-oriented economy small countries have to work on their strenghts – education, geographical position, infrastructure, connections, nature … – and be very smart in tailoring competitive business conditions. Usually it is difficult to ‘sell’ this philosophy in our countries since the results would be seen in 3-10 years time and parties that would push in this direction would, at least in Slovenia, not have much chances of being reelected. To help in developing this longer term view and pulling strenghts form our recourses inciatives as Macedonia 2025 and Summit100 business leaders of SEE come along.

On the other hand luckly not everything depends on politics and economic policy, so in both our countries we have great companies that thrive through specialisation on nich markets.

2.       What are the advantages of the Slovenian economy compared with the other countries from the region and member states of European Union?

Sonja Smuc: Investors report about loyal and skilled work force, innovativeness, infrastructure (http://www.investslovenia.org/why-slovenia/). Slovenia is also among best in literacy, road-transport-density, international trade, rate of turism growth, quality of education, perservance of nature.

3. What is business ethics and is it used by managers today in managing their companies?

Sonja Smuc: We went through hell regarding business ethics. Some managers that were considered heros 10 years ago have vanished from business circles due to their misconduct. Era of growth boom, almost unlimited money  for rent and people’s belief that sun will always shine, along with incompetent supervisory mechanisms have caused a lot of headache to our economy and a lot of heartache to many families that were victimes of – not global crises but – misdeeds of top management and owners. It is a shamefull period of our history. But I believe we have learned a lot. Discussions about business ethics are not rare among managers and integrity of a person, especially if you recruit for top management, has become an important part of the process. Managers Association of Slovenia has played a crutial role in this development. Our code of etichs is our constitution that we use to measure deed of our members when a problem arises – and we have excluded 6 members on this ground; last year we have contributed to Slovene Principles of Corporate Integrity that where signed by over 80 companies.

4. Your specialization is women’s management. Can you explain what that means and whether the region has successful women managers?

Sonja Smuc: Talent is a starting point for every nation. Fact is that talents are equaly distributed among men and women, and yet women in top positions – be it busienss, academia or politics – are rarely seen. It makes me sad to see such a waste of talent. Women simply don’t get the same amount of opportunities in which their talents could grow and be recognised. They are also not trainedor raised in the same way as men on how to make such opportunities for themselves. If we use only half of our capabilities we will never get as far as we could. In many ways our region has a better starting point then many other European countries to leap forward in this regard.

5. Which way can every individual lobby for the interest of their own economy?

Sonja Smuc: Lobbying is an art. In my naive opinion one should only lobby when the interests that you are arrgumenting are not only in your self-interest but can be also useful to others or at least would not hurt. In small countries an individual has more opportunity for influencing and with that also bigger responsibility. We can not just sit back and blame others, we have to take part if we want better future. And we also have to learn how to appreciate and champion good ideas and deed of others.

Interview with Viktor Gruev, researcher who develops sensory technologies in the medical field

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Viktor Gruev is an associate researcher and professor at the Washington University in Saint Louis. He is part of the department of electrotechnical and biomedical engineering.  Gruev works on the development of sensory technologies that are used in the medical field.

You have received a number of awards? Which fields of research do these awards belong to?

My research includes electronics, nanotechnology, sensors, algorithm and bio-medical instruments. The group of students with whom I work and myself have received several awards- best paper and best live demo at the IEEE conference, several best papers in electronics and biomedical journals and magazines, award for innovating in the field of medicine, etc.

Where do you get your inspiration for the research that you do?

Simply said, I have child-like curiosity for science. I am interested to know why nature functions the way it does. I am interested in biology as well as the nature of other organisms that absorb information in a simple manner. I want to know how can we copy nature and paste it into the laboratory and create nature-stimulated sensors along the way. By achieving that we can create news sensors that would allow us to discover things that we could not have by now. Basically, I want to do the things that we used to consider were impossible to do.

At this year’s Macedonia Economic Summit you will talk about sensory technology and its use in medicine. Can you tell us few things about that?

I will talk about a new technology that is based on the eyes of a butterfly, which can see a wider spectrum of colors than the human eye. According to that we developed a camera that mimics the eyes of a butterfly. These cameras are integrated with goggles that can view cells that are cancerogenous. We are in the process of commercializing this new revolutionary technology by implementing it at our hospital in Saint Louis.

As a researcher and professor focused on medical technologies, how do you use your achievements in practice? 

The end-goal with the technologies that we are developing in my lab is to make it useful in every-day medicine. It is very important the work that is being done to make an impact in medicine. I work on technologies that are used on every-day basis and my focus is on inventions that are cheap and useful that can be used all over the world and in places that have limited resources.

Become a future leader. Learn from the best: Harry Kraemer and Mike Zafirovski will answer the most exciting questions about business and leadership

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We are greatly honored for having at the Summit Professor Harry Kraemer from Kellogg’s School of Management. Mr. Kraemer will present something that every business executive, manager and entrepreneur in Macedonia and the Balkan region wants to learn: How to be the best and build a world-class organization through values-based leadership. This is in essence the title of Mr. Kraemer’s latest book that contains insights from his years-long experience as a CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, board member of a number of companies and his place on business and educational councils.

Besides teaching future leaders at Kellogg’s, Mr. Kraemer mentors business executives all over the United States. He is a best-selling author who has given leadership talks at Google and other companies that lead the world in innovation. In Skopje, Mr. Kraemer will address a burning question for all business executives, managers and entrepreneurs in the Balkan region – How to become a leader who can build a world-class organization?

Let’s think for a moment. Is there a world-class organization in Macedonia or any of the Balkan countries? The answer is less important than the following conclusion: If you start building a solid organization now, it may well be that in the next five or ten years that organization will become one that is world-class. We invite you to come and learn and be inspired by some of the best people in business.

Mr. Kraemer will speak in a Q & A session with Mike Zafirovski, titled “Conversation on Values-Based Leadership for Building Inclusive Societies”. Mr. Zafirovski, former CEO of several Fortune 500 companies, an advisor and business mentor, will present the most interesting questions to Mr. Kramer. We are very excited for this event, as we will see how the minds of great business leaders work. We are also happy to announce that this particular event of the Macedonia Economic Summit will be open to young professionals free of charge. Following the Q & A session, Mr. Kraemer will present free copies of his book Becoming the Best that he is going to sign personally. We invite you to return to our website for more details on how to be part of this event.

Also, a quick reminder that priority registration for the Summit ends on October 31. Following this day, the cost of participating at the summit will go up. Act on time to guarantee you and your company are featured in the Summit catalogue.

Scott DeLong, Speaker at the Summit, answers few burning questions for entrepreneurs in Macedonia

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Scott DeLong, Internet entrepreneur and founder of ViralNova answered few questions for the Macedonian sudent news portal Fakulteti.mk

 

1.    Is there a formula to your success? 

While it varies slightly from market to market, there is one thing that remains true: content is king. The success of all of my Web businesses has been a combination of great content and proper marketing. Too many aspiring entrepreneurs go into their business with a money-first mentality instead of a user-first mentality. If you take care of the user and give them what they want, you’ll see success.

2.    Was it always your intention to make ViralNova so massive?

No. Prior to ViralNova, I had sold a large video Web site and planned on traveling. I lived in Spain for about 6 months and got really bored without a business to focus on. I thought perhaps ViralNova could do a couple million visits a month and be something fun to focus on. But in the Fall of 2013, it absolutely exploded. The timing was right as Facebook had begun really pushing publishers (the marketing piece of my formula) and the content was inspiring and fun, something many users hadn’t really seen before.  Most publications seemed to report on “bad” stuff, so this was a welcomed change. Of course now it’s much more common to focus on happy, inspirational pieces.

3.    What is the most important lesson you have learned from being a successful entrepreneur?

The most important lesson I’ve learned is that it’s very difficult to be successful without an obsession for your business. You have to think about it all the time. There is no such thing as remaining steady in business – you’re either growing or falling behind. On a more personal note, I’ve also learned that success doesn’t always mean happiness. At the end of the day, it’s not business or money that really makes a person happy.

4. What advice would you give to people of your age in Macedonia who want to start something and be their own boss? 

The Internet has really evened the playing field. 15 years ago, it was really difficult to start  a business because it cost so much money to do so. Now, you can start a business with a $10 domain and a Facebook page. The key is to read everything you can about successful individuals online and always keep your eyes open for the next opportunity.  On the Internet, things move very quickly, and I see many people trying a business idea that doesn’t really even work anymore. You have to jump on trends quickly and always find your own unique way to do it.

Philip Mugnier, President and Founder, ATTRACT, France

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Throughout his varied career as entrepreneur and international marketer, Philippe Mugnier – 44 – President and Founder of ATTRACT (www.attract-pr.com), has been at the heart of all aspects of marketing, PR and tourism and is a recognized international expert in place branding. Philippe was involved in the worldwide promotion of France as a touristic destination (Atout France/French National Tourism Board, Regional Tourism Committees, alpine stations, leisure park, festivals…) and at the forefront of marketing iconic destinations spanning all 5 continents to French and European travelers.

Philippe had his professional career debut at Adonet (Association of National Foreign Tourism Boards) in Paris continuing as Marketing & PR Officer at a French Regional Tourism Board and with the new millennium CEO of the French leading company in destination marketing & PR Interface Tourism Group.

From early 2013, Philippe is passionately committed to the success of the ATTRACT, personal entrepreneurial adventure, uniting his skills and energizing his international network of professionals. He is proudly launching Macedonia as a brand new destination in France since 2014 as marketing & PR representative of “Macedonia Agency for Promotion & Support of Tourism “ (MAPST) in market. More on www.philippe-mugnier.fr

(Philippe is also one of the contributors to a reference book dedicated to “Tourism Marketing” (DUNOD Publishing ), lecturer on Tourism Marketing in leading universities (Celsa-Sorbonne, Esthua, Essec, Isc, Isee…) as well as marketing columnist at ‘Tendance Nomad” monthly magazine dedicated to “Meeting, Travel & Mobility”. Philippe is also Member of the Board and Executive Committee (as Secretary) of the French Chapter of the “Pacific Asia Travel Association”. He is also responsible for the Paris based office of the emirati owned Samaya International tourism investment and advisory company France/UAE).

At the Macedonia Economic Summit, Mr. Mugnier will talk about international tourism attractiveness of Macedonia. 

October 27, Macedonia2025 and InterNations event

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InterNations would like to invite fellow expats to join, network and greet the new members in our community and have a fun and relaxing evening at the exclusive Bushi Resort! Let’s welcome fall in this outstanding location in the heart of the city. Our event sponsor, Macedonia 2025, the organizer of the Macedonia Economic Summit 2015, is offering a fantastic raffle prize so make sure you bring along your business cards for your chance to win. Fun time starts 8:00 PM.

The Macedonia Economic Summit takes place in Skopje from 18-20 November at the Aleksandar Palace Hotel. This event is a platform where professionals and entrepreneurs can network towards success. World-renowned speakers and experts will present the most relevant information and analysis in the fields of technology, business and leadership.

Register by October 31 to guarantee your place to all of the events associated with the Summit. The admission price of 250 euro includes:

•    Participation at all panels and Summit working materials
•    Refreshments on November 18
•    Refreshments and lunch on November 19 and 20
•    Cocktail on November 19
•    Your company’s profile in the catalogue of participants (for those who register and pay by October 31)

In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you at the Bushi Resort on Tuesday, October 27. Visit the InterNations event page to sign up.