The Business Forum in Paris that took place on Friday, June 26, achieved its expectations. The team of Macedonia2025 met many business professionals of Macedonian origin who live and work in Europe. This is an important step towards building a network of people who are related in many ways to Macedonia and who wish to play a role in the country becoming an integral part of Europe and its economy of 500 million people. There are many people who live outside Macedonia who are not acquainted with its ongoing progress and are unaware that significant changes had taken place. Following the Forum’s panels, there were more than 30 individual B2B meetings between attendees. The forum in Paris opened the doors towards organizing similar events in other major cities across Europe where there is a diaspora of people who originally come from Macedonia.
At the event’s venue- the Embassy of Macedonia in Paris, we met with Mr. Alban Ibraimovski who is the Product Manager of the French supermarket chain Auchan. Mr. Ibraimovski said he eagerly helps exporters from Macedonia to develop an image and business relations in France. He emphasized that the companies need to learn the specifics in how business is done in a foreign market such as the French, pointing to the fact that every exporter has to secure a seller to connect them with an outlet.
Mr. Dino Gramatikov, who is Wizz Air’s pricing and revenue manager, told the guests at the forum that he feels especially proud for having played a role in putting Macedonia on Wizz Air’s map. He added that the budget carrier “took over 1 million passengers on its route to Macedonia in the past four years” and that Ohrid has the potential to become another Wizz Air destination.
Keti Koseva, Area Manager of Vitalia said: “Events like these enable us to meet with key people in our industry. Entering a new market is always a challenge, but when there is a support from a Diaspora representative, doors can be open more easily. Vitalia participated at this Forum with a specific purpose to discuss cooperation with French companies and our goal was achieved.”
In addition to connecting Macedonians, the forum also gave an opportunity to representatives of the Macedonian foreign investment agency, Invest Macedonia, to present all the incentives for investing in the country, such as the low VAT, but also to point to the fact that Macedonia had made a tremendous improvement in the past several years regarding business and development.
Prime Minister of Macedonia, Mr. Nikola Gruevski was a guest of honor. He informed the attendees about the country’s dedication to retain its agility on the path of development and responsiveness to foreign investors. Mr. Gruevski said: “The World Bank ranked Macedonia 94th in the facility of doing business, in 2006. Now we are ranked 30th. In order to overcome our handicap of being a small country with a small economy, we have free trade agreements with all countries in Europe, both in and out of the European Union, except for Russia. These agreements allow for free export from Macedonia.”
In addition to representatives of companies who have invested in Macedonia, such as Steve Sharpe– President and CEO of Euromax Resources who develops the gold and copper mine in Ilovica, there were representatives of famous French companies, as well as French government officials. Mr. Charles Paradis, of Bouygues Construction and representative of the Macedonia-France council under MEDEF International, reflected on the strides Macedonia has made in the past several years. Mr. Paradis said: “I think that the business climate is improving on a daily basis and I think this is a chance French companies should use in order to increase their presence in Macedonia.” Mr. Paradis, who is influential in his sector, has expressed interest in exploring the opportunities for investing and cooperating with Macedonia.
We would like to thank the sponsors and supporters of this event for helping us put together our first event of this kind:MAMA’s Ajvar, BiMilk’s special edition cheeses and the exception wine by Tikvesh caused much interest among the guests. We thank the travel agency LaMacedoine for helping with the organizing logistics. Ohridska Banka – Societe Generale Group were our Co-hosts and the Macedonian Embassy in Paris as our host.
The next destination for Macedonia2025 is Toronto, where on July 7 the organization is hosting a networking reception to help connect Macedonian diaspora members in Canada. During the stay in Toronto, the Macedonia2025 team will take several business executives and managers from Macedonian companies on a study tour at a renowned business institute and a number of companies in Canada. This efforts helps develop professional business leaders that will drive forward the economy of Macedonia in the time ahead.