Although we had heard about the Bitove Family Entrepreneurship and the Macedonia2025 programs, our first contact with them was through the Fund for Innovation and Technology Development. We had participated in the call “O2 challenge 2 Action for Positive Climate Change”, which was organized by the Fund. It was a great pleasure to have received such a special award: this included an extensive partnership, as well as exceptional mentoring and high-level consultancy provided by CESA SACO through the Bitove Family Entrepreneurship and Macedonia2025 programs.
What prompted you to apply to the Bitove Family Entrepreneurship Program in partnership with CESO SACO and where did you see the need for having external consultancy in your company?
Just after we were awarded the special prize, the management of Macedonia2025 contacted our group and introduced us to the Bitove Family Program and CESA SACO. After presenting our company and highlighting the stage where we were at, it was decided that we needed help when approaching export markets or when boosting our sales. After specifying our needs to Macedonia2025, the organization then selected and offered us several potential consultants that suited our requirements. We have chosen Ms. Valerie Bell, an expert with vast experience in our industry, to guide us through the process and provide expert consulting on this topic.
How would the Bitove Family Entrepreneurship Program increase the organizational capacity and improve the overall competitiveness of the company?
Our participation in this program is not only of great benefit for the company but also for us as the management team of the organization. The chosen consultant from CESA SACO gave us an overview of the entire market for food supplements, with special attention being paid to North America. We talked about the main fairs in North America and Europe and the need to attend them both as a participant and as an exhibitor. Additionally, we talked about product assortment and new product development, as well as the best direction, in terms of product development, that the company should take. We touched upon the issues of supplies and raw materials, the internal organization of the company (such as the sales department), and the need for necessary equipment and sales.
Can you please outline three main benefits from the program that are readily applicable in the daily work of your business?
The main benefits from the program that are readily applicable are:
- Defining the main product assortment that will be attractive for export markets
- Developing sales materials and final sales strategy (focus placed on the bulk product instead of the products destined for the retail market)
- Comprehensive list of key potential partners to approach through email and phone or by visiting them at future fairs (the Institute of Food Technologists in Chicago, Anuga in Germany, and Expo West in Anaheim, California)
Why should other Macedonian micro, small and medium enterprises apply to the Bitove Family Entrepreneurship Program?
Macedonian micro, small and medium enterprises are usually in need of adequate guidance, especially if they are export-oriented. The Macedonian market is very specific and many of the “market rules” that are country-specific do not apply to the export markets. Additionally, the necessary certifications and in-depth analysis reports constitute serious obstacles for the various Macedonian products on the international market. But most of all, the direct contacts and lasting relationships with certification bodies, laboratories, and potential customers that may emerge from these types of programs are of tremendous importance.