The closing day of the Leader Project marked the completion of the tenth anniversary of the Macedonian-Canadian cooperation program in business education. The participants of the program made the final presentations that ensured that their effort in gaining new skills and business prowess receives an official certification. A panel of Macedonian and international business executives listened to each of the presentations and cast their vote according to a grading scale formulated by one of the best business schools in North America, the Ivey School of Business at Western University in Ontario.
The final presentations were a window into the imagination and potential of young business professionals in Macedonia. The participants presented excellent ideas – many of which worthy for immediate investment and support. Although the ranking was informal, the judges were unwilling to leave out a number of top performers from the top three positions, so there were few people that shared the first and second places, all in great humor and laughs. The winners of the first place will all get free pass to attend the Macedonia2025 Summit in Skopje (November 1-2) and the second and third place winners will compete in the class of startups at the Get in the Ring pitching competition. Both prizes create an opportunity for the participants to meet potential investors in their business ideas.
Jasmina Antic Atanasovski, founder and director of early child development centers Bonbonchinja said after the closing: “During the consultation rounds with the instructors, I was able to regain my focus, with their help, which I had lost since I started my business. This is very important to me because the direction that I am following now fits in line with where I want my business to be in the coming years. Another excellent feature of the Leader Project was meeting people who have similar interests like mine. The entrepreneurial spirit was there during all the lectures, during the time we spent together outside the program, and this is what really helps to motivate people to go further.”
Sherefedin Amiti of the non-banking financial services bureau Moneta said: “These projects are very welcome, especially in Macedonia, considering the situation in which young people find themselves, who need motivation and support to succeed. Leader Project is of immense importance to me and I think it will be great if the coming generations are able to use the same opportunity and become part of the Leader program.”
Following the ten learning-intensive days, a networking reception and a number of sightseeing visits in Skopje and Ohrid, the program’s instructors left with new experience as lecturers, leaders and friends in the Macedonian community of young professionals and entrepreneurs. Alison Morin, one of the instructors, said about her stay in Macedonia: “It’s been an incredible two week journey filled with lots of learning, sharing and fun. The entrepreneurs and Macedonia2025 were incredible hosts that really allowed us to better acquaint with a country with great potential.”
The Director of the Macedonia2025 office in Skopje, Biljana Markovic-Stamenova, said during the opening of the final day, “I commend all the participants for dedicating their time to the program. By now you are all aware about the benefits of this learning experience, which doesn’t stop today. You are now part of a Leader alumni network of exceptional people, who are eager to give one another support, a piece of mind and even cooperate on your next exciting project. I encourage you to continue investing in your skills and apply them here in Macedonia to help our country become a better place to call home.”
Macedonia2025 is delighted for receiving additional support from Dejan Kalinikov, the Managing Director of the SEAF Macedonia fund and Lou Naumovski, a Macedonian-Canadian business executive, who delivered insightful and inspiring presentations for the participants. We are looking forward to 2018 and to a new class of Leader Project participants who will continue this excellent cooperation between Macedonia and Canada.
Our congratulations go to the first place winners: Ilija Kiroski, Irina Velevska and Filip Arsov; second place winners: Aleksandra Simeonova, Marin Velkovski and Fidan Nikolovski; and the third place winner Aleksandar Popovik.