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June 2018

MACEDONIA2025 SUMMIT: 3-day Program, Break-Out Sessions, Charity Gala, Leadership Cocktails and Much More!

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This year’s edition of the Macedonia2025 Summit that will be happening from 7-10 November, offers many new concepts and additional opportunities for networking between attendees.

The three days will feature around 20 plenary and breakout sessions with more than 50 speakers from diverse backgrounds.  We will tackle topics that are important to the country and the region, such as leadership through education, strategies for brain gain, global economic trends, regional investments and economic prospects. We have invited experts on digital transformation, which will enable the region to achieve a quantum leap forward in catching up with the most dynamic economies.  We will also highlight successful Macedonian and regional companies, and promote best practices in renewables, science parks and innovations hubs. Specific attention will be paid to the latest technologies applied in healthcare as well.

Equally important will be the soft topics, where participants will get the opportunity to hear more about coaching the leaders or what constitutes the mindset of a great leader at the panel-discussion chaired by Kevin Murrane, Founder of Behtrics LLC and Adjunct Professor and Lecturer at Kellogg School of Management. As of now, additional 25 renowned speakers from a wide array of fields have already confirmed their participation and we will be announcing them in the upcoming period.

Apart from the official program, there will be evening leadership cocktails and informal gatherings throughout. Our three stories from the Charity Fund for talented students from vulnerable backgrounds and their impressive progress achieved, will be publicly promoted at the John Bitove Sr. Award Ceremony and Charity Gala, featuring ethno-classical music. We will put on pedestal philanthropy, leadership and success. What is more, video presentations will be screened on 7 years from the MK2025 Summit, as well as 10 years from the establishment of the organization.

Starting from November 7, high school student’s competition will take place, followed by the third regional startup business pitching competition sponsored by the Western Balkans Fund, where contestants will compete for one final round, thus announcing the overall regional winner.

Last but not least, we’re concluding the event with our traditional walk with leaders during a day trip to Matka.

Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of the premier regional business gathering and secure your spot by registering HERE.

Regular registration is opened until 30 September 2018. Stay tuned for more information!

Highlights of MK2025 Business Forum in Belgrade in Partnership with CANSEE

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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 need 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.

Pitching for the Future: Balkan Start-Ups

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CANSEE (Canadian – Serbian Business Association), Macedonia2025 and Restart (Bosnia and Hercegovina) hosted the first leg of an international start-up pitching competition for their national winners, with the financial support of the Western Balkans Fund.

All three NGOs hosted an annual business development program called the LEADER Project with the help of MBA students from Richard Ivey Business School in Canada. Over the course of two weeks, participants learned how to develop a business plan and pitch. This year, for the first time, the top three participants from each of the three countries will present their startup ideas in Belgrade, Sarajevo, and Skopje. Today at the first leg in Belgrade, we heard startup ideas that included: an online dating app, an online booking platform for regional food tourism, wearable jewelry that tracks six health indicators, and an environmentally friendly fertilizer.

This new initiative will give the winning participants the priceless opportunity to present their startup idea in front of potential investors from Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia and from around the world. Further, and if not more importantly, the initiative will help foster new links and networks between the young participants, as well as between investors and business people from the three countries.

The future of the Balkans is business. The ultimate winner will be awarded with funding and the opportunity to present their startup idea in front of over 400 people at the annual Macedonia2025 Summit. The next leg to be held in Sarajevo on 9 August 2018, and the third leg in Skopje on 7 November 2018.

CANSEE, Macedonia2025, and Restart are NGOs that were founded to promote economic development in Serbia, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Hercegovina respectively. The Western Balkans Fund, is an inter-governmental grant giving organization that promotes greater regional cooperation, people to people contacts in the Western Balkans, and its integration with the European Union.

First Regional Business Pitching Competition in Belgrade supported by the Western Balkans Fund

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After completing the successful editions of the LEADER project and announcing the three winners from Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, awardees obtained the chance to jointly pitch their business ideas in front of a regional and international jury for the first time at the Regional Business Pitching Competition in Hilton Hotel – Belgrade on 22 June, from 15:30 to 17:30.

“We are so happy to announce the LEADER project winners from the three regional sites. Our nine winners – Valentina Čolić, Jovana Stanković and Tamara Jevtović from SerbiaOlga Rajchik, Todor Panev and Bojana Zavkova from Macedonia; as well as Emina Zahirović-Pintarić, Ali Sayyed and Srđan Majkić from Bosnia and Herzegovina are so eager to present their business ideas, after receiving continuous mentoring and support and learning everything needed for running a successful business.” – inform representatives from the three sites CANSEE (Canadian Serbian Business Association)Macedonia2025 and Restart respectively.

The first regional business pitching competition has been enabled thanks to the project “Strengthening of Cross-border Cooperation and Relations in the Western Balkans through People to People Contact of Young Entrepreneurs“, funded by the Western Balkans Fundcreated with the aim of financing small and medium-sized projects in the field of education, sustainable development and human rights in the countries of the Western Balkans.

The second regional business pitching competition will take place on 9 August in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and winners will finally pitch together for the third time in Skopje (Macedonia) on 7 November, as part of the Macedonia2025 Summit.

The mutual project activities will surely provide Leader project winners an enhanced opportunity for increased visibility and regional exposure.