Macedonia 2025’s Board Member and successful entrepreneur, Emil Hristov, was welcomed as a guest speaker to the entrepreneurship class of more than forty students at the Faculty for Mechanical Engineering in Skopje. Mr. Hristov explained to students the importance of clearly defining their goals and to begin planning their career while still in school. “It is easy to find excuses why something would not work out; instead, try to find a way to make things work” – said Mr. Hristov, who started his own business two months after graduation, without any money or contacts in the industry.
A crucial factor that leads to success in any professional environment is the working habits students develop in school. Many people would consider Mr. Hristov’s success pure luck, but he believes in a different definition: “Luck is when opportunity meets preparedness. You can seize an opportunity when you are given one, only if you are well prepared”. According to him, every experience is valuable to professional growth. Students should not be afraid to start their career at the bottom and work their way up. If they work hard, they will quickly be promoted within any company. Mr. Hristov provided invaluable insight and motivation to the students, which led to many thinking of their futures and asking for an opportunity to work as interns at his company in Skopje. Internships provide students with an opportunity to gain real world experience and prepare themselves for their future careers. They are an important step in determining the appropriate path in any students’ career and allow them to receive hands-on experience and practical experience in their fields.
Macedonia 2025 in cooperation with the YES Incubator organized a second meeting between Emil Hristov and more than 100 young entrepreneurs and business school graduates, at M6 Training Centre in Skopje. Mr. Hristov provided an overview of his business model and strategy, explaining the construction and solar industry in the USA. He marked a huge success in the construction business until 2009 when he shifted into the solar industry and decided to outsource operations to Macedonia. “Flexibility is more important than knowledge. You can accumulate knowledge, but the open mind set is crucial to overcome the biggest challenges in business”– explained Mr. Hristov.
Mr. Hristov decided to expand the office in Skopje because of the quality and enthusiasm of the people who work here. They hire people without prior experience, but with a flexible personality to be able to develop western working habits. “I don’t have employees, but team members. Our company structure is flat and flexible. There is no hierarchy and no titles” – explained Mr. Hristov. His team members can freely express their ideas, and take an active role in defining the company’s vision. Even though there are certain obstacles to overcome, he considers the conditions to do business in Macedonia as favourable. “You can establish a company in Macedonia, but you have to think globally” – was the message that Mr. Hristov delivered to the audience.
The National centre for development of innovations and entrepreneurship learning (http://www.ncdiel.mk/), located at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, is opened for innovative, technology-based and profit orientated ideas. It has a selection system that starts with on-line application of business ideas, followed by selection of the best 80-90 ideas, training in 13 modules on entrepreneurship and small business management topics, business plan competition and finally ending with at least 10 newly founded companies. The Centre activities continue with provision of seed capital for start-ups, counselling and coaching of the established companies, all in direction of strengthening the capacities of newly established companies to successfully sustain and grow on the market.
Yes Foundation (www.yesincubator.org.mk) stimulates entrepreneurship and raises the level of employment among young people, through strengthening their skills and competencies to start their own business. The foundation is a start-up incubator that offers free consultancies, promotion, technical and financial support, as well as networking. In addition, the incubator provides different management trainings through a mentor scheme for experience transfer by established business people to the young entrepreneurs to improve their knowledge and skills. Business areas in which the mentors specialize are: human resource management, business development, finance, administration, management, corporate communication, sales, negotiation, public relations and marketing.