Speaker Presentations at the Macedonia Economic Summit

Many of the attendees of the Summit and the Leadership Talks asked if we are going to share the speaker presentations. We are happy that the enthusiasm for going forward is strong and that the speakers were glad to share their presentations with everyone.

Leadership Talks

Sonja Smuc

Nina Angelovska

Filip Misovski

Vlaho Kostov

Mike Zafirovski


Mike Zafirovski Presentation

Nika Gilauri

Gazmend Kadriu

Branka Pavlovic


Jim Dunn


Lou Naumovski

Jasmina Knezevic

Igor Popovski

Andrew Brown


Vlaho Kostov

Philip Nordfeldt

Marta Naumovska Grnarova

Gordana Gavrilovic

Petar Spaseski

Emil Matevski


Philippe Mugnier

Borche Ilioski

Vera Stavroff


Petar Kajevski

Filip Misovski

Metodija Papazoski


Participant Testimonials from the Macedonia Economic Summit

posted December 3, 2015

We are delighted for having received many encouraging remarks from participants at the Macedonia Economic Summit and we want to thank all of you who made this event materialize in the quality that it did.

View all testimonials in PDF here


Summary of the Survey for the Macedonia Economic Summit 2015


The Summit hosted around 300 participants and additional 400 students and young entrepreneurs at the free Leadership Talks event. Over the two main days of the Summit there were eight panel discussions featuring 38 speakers coming from more than 17 countries, including Albania, Austria, Australia, Hong Kong, Croatia, Poland, Serbia, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States. The speakers represented many sectors, including finance and banking, consumer electronics, IT, tourism, mobile, agriculture, management and health. In addition to the panel discussions the Summit had off-site Gala reception and a community-outreach event titled Climb with the Leaders to mount Vodno, attended by 80 participants. The Summit was supported by 13 organizations, 14 media outlets and 27 sponsors. All relevant national TV stations reported on the event and broadcasted interviews with a number of the Summit’s speakers. The organizing team was made of 6 team members and additional 6 staff.

We distributed a survey to 230 participants at the Macedonia Economic Summit to rate their experience at the event. We received a response from 45 participants and 14 speakers, total of 59 people, which is 25 % response rate. This is the summary of the responses:

  • What was the reason for your attending the Macedonia Economic Summit? (Select all that apply)

Networking – 75%

Exploring business opportunities – 55%

Interested in the panel discussions – 68%

To support the organization – 52%

  • 69 % of the respondents said there are Very Satisfied and 20% said they are Satisfied with the Panel Sessions, adding to a 89% rate of satisfaction.
  • Regarding the relevancy of the topics, 44% of the participant said they were Very Satisfied and 38% Satisfied, combining for 81% satisfaction; 15% responded “Neutral”.

The open-ended question “In what ways have you and/or your company benefited from attending the Summit?” produced 29 written responses, all of which suggested positive benefits for the participants. Here are few of the answers:

“I got ideas that may lead to a revision of the company’s long-term strategy.”

“Networking and meeting potential partners.”

“Many benefits including meeting new people, sharing experiences, improving skills and knowledge.”

“Opportunity to present our project and company to the Macedonian business sector and opportunity to attract investors and good skilled workforce.”

  • 71 % of the respondents said they were Very Satisfied with the overall impact of the Macedonia Economic Summit. 24.44% said they were Satisfied.
  • None of the respondents were Dissatisfied with any of the panel discussions.
  • According to the respondents, the top three panels of the Summit are*:
  • A Conversation on Values-Based Leadership for Building Inclusive Societies
  • Technology and Innovation
  • Entrepreneurs who Build from Zero to Fortunes

*The rest of the panels were behind by very small margins

  • 87% were satisfied with the profile of the attendees.
  • 90% were satisfied with the location of the event.
  • 59% were Very Satisfied with the cost, 14% were Satisfied and 21% voted “Neutral”.
  • 95% of the respondents said they were overall Satisfied with the Summit
  • On the question “Would you recommend the Summit to people in your professional network?” 95% of the respondents answered they will.
  • All of the 14 speakers said they see a possibility for themselves or their company to do business in Macedonia.
  • All of the 14 speakers said they have established contacts with a company or service provider in Macedonia.
  • All of the 14 speakers said they will recommend the summit to people in their professional network.



Videos of the Panel Discussions at the Macedonia Economic Summit


Zoran Martinovski, Summit Chair, World Bank’s IFC Country Manager for Macedonia and
Montenegro, Macedonia2025 Board Member
Mike Zafirovski, Founder/President of the Zaf Group and Co-founder/Chair of Strategy Committee of

Summary of the opening address:

– The legacy of John Bitove Sr., on his love and dedication to the Macedonian cause and what can we all learn from his selflessness
– On the spirit of selflessness. The energy that Board Members put into MK2025 for the good of the Country and not expecting anything in return
– Emphasis on terminology of “think and do” tank (not just “think” alone), talking about education programs and other successes of MK2025
– Overview of the Country Dashboard and how this will help define what we is meant by the credo “Building a stronger nation”
– Ambition for success as measured by the dashboard – being in top half in the next 10 years

Full video


Zoran Martinovski, Summit Chair, World Bank’s IFC Country Manager for Macedonia and
Montenegro, Macedonia2025 Board Member
Nika Gilauri, Former Prime Minister of Georgia, head of Bank of Georgia Turkey’s office and a
senior advisor for McKinsey & Company
Mike Zafirovski, Founder/President of the Zaf Group and Co-founder/Chair of Strategy Committee of
Gazmend Kadriu, CEO at Union Bank, Albania
Branko Bogunovič, Partner at Horwath Consulting, Croatia
Branka Pavlovič, President of the Board of Directors, Ohridska Banka AD Skopje, Member of
Société Générale Group, Macedonia

Panel Summary:

– Reflection on economic growth and challenges in South-East Europe: Demographic shrinkage and umeployment
– Nika Gilauri shares insights from his experience in leading Georgia’s transformation
– List of main drivers and best practices that contributed to substantial change in Georgia
– Insights from the Banking sector; education of workforce, innovation, business sophistication
– Expectations in tourism development in Croatia and lessons for Macedonia and the SEE region
– Behavior of European and domestic banks in the SEE region and forecast for the next year

Full video


Zoran Martinovski, Summit Chair, World Bank’s IFC Country Manager for Macedonia and
Montenegro, Macedonia2025 Board Member
Ichak Adizes, Founder, Adizes Institute USA (Video Address)
Jim Dunn, Project Director, The Pacific Institute, UK

Full Video


John I. Bitove (Jr), Founder of Obelysk Inc, Canada and Macedonia2025 Co-founder/Chair of
Communications Committee, Canada
Dr. Vlaho Kostov, Panasonic, Executive Engineer, Head of CEE and Mediterranean, Germany
Philip Nordfeldt, Founder & CEO at Data Talks, Sweden
Marta Naumovska Grnarova, CEO at Zavar Company, Macedonia
Gordana Gavrilović, Sales Director SE, RedKnee, Serbia
Petar Spaseski, Global SAMS Toolkit Manager at Hatch, Australia
Emil Matevski, Partner at Detecon, Germany

Panel Summary:

– Big Data technology makes things a lot easier for lots of sectors.
– Strong companies and state institutions need to invest in research and implementation of Big Data.
– The customer of today wants to pay for a journey, not just a product or service.
– Companies need to get closer to the individual customer.
– Innovation is also about sustainability. Companies have responsibility in front of communities.
– Next step for Macedonian companies is to become sustainable by introducing smart design.
– ICT is no longer an enabler of business – it is a business itself.

Full video


– John I. Bitove (Jr), Founder of Obelysk Inc, Canada and Macedonia2025 Co-founder/Chair of
Communications Committee, Canada
– Chris Pavlovski, Founder of Rumble and Macedonia2025 Board Member, Canada
– Scott Delong, Founder of Viral Nova, USA
– Brian Warner, Founder of CelebrityNetWorth.com, USA
– Jason Burfield, CTO of LittleThings, USA

Panel Summary:

– It is very possible to start an online business with $50 US and develop that into a source of good income.
– Put together skills and idea to develop something that doesn’t exist.
– Having a small team allows companies to subcontract services with other companies in order to focus on crucial objectives.
– There are companies that are working on something big, something that we are not going to believe is real.
– The IT sector in Macedonia offers creative, on the spot thinking and problem solving.
– The time difference between North America and Macedonia allows ICT companies to have an effective 24 hour work cycle.

Full video


– Tilman Tacke, Associate Principal, McKinsey, Germany
– Vera Stavroff, President & CEO of HerbalScience and AlkaloidUSA, and co- founder of GreenBeauty, USA
– Ognen Cubalevski, Plant Manager at ODW Elektrik, Macedonia
– George Stamkoski, Film producer, UK
– Philippe Mugnier, CEO at ATTRACT PR, France
– John Jonovski, Founder and Managing Partner, Phalanx Capital, UK
– Borche Ilioski, Assistant Vice President Corporate Development and Investor Relations, Euromax Resources

Panel Summary:

– Competitiveness is very important for Macedonia because most of the demand is located outside the country.
– Organic production is the next competitive sector of Macedonia. Everything is in place for growth to happen.
– Follow the Nation Brand hexagon to develop a strong tourism sector in Macedonia.
– An increasing number of tourist operators today are aware about Macedonia.
– Tourism is a sector that quickly recovers following a crisis.
– Infestment in the film industry in Macedonia is considerable indirect investment in supporting industry: travel, hospitality, food and beverage, construction, fashion and so on.

Full video

– Leadership is about bringing the best out of people and making things better for everyone.
– Leaders show the way, teach from experience.
– Leaders start leading ASAP! Those who lead start leading long before they have followers.
– We need more values-based leaders in the world.
– Macedonia has great leaders in the Diaspora that need to come more often and transfer their knowledge to an increasingly eager audience.

Full video


– Sonja Šmuc, Managing Director, Managers’ Association of Slovenia, Slovenia
– Lou Naumovski, Vice President and General Director, Moscow Representative Office, Kinross Gold
Corporation, Russia
– Mario Seric, Managing Director, MarCon, Croatia
– Dr. Jasmina Knezevic, Founder and CEO, Bel Medic Hospital, Serbia
– Igor Popovski, Regional Manager, GE Lighting & Macedonia2025 Board Member
– Andrew Brown, Delivery Unit Manager, Endava, United Kingdom

Pannel Summary:

– Companies in SEE need to build competence and credibility
– Dedicate effort and attention to setting up the starting points for international cooperation.
– Experience accelerates growth and impact – tap diaspora to ‘seed’ companies with experienced overseas talent.
– Increased competition spurs innovation and improvement – necessary for having dynamic sectors.

Full Video (Please note, we are working with our media partner to resolve the quality issues of this video)


  • Leadership Talks – Young Professionals as Drivers of Sustainable Growth 

– Harry Kraemer – Professor on leadership and management, Kellogg School of Management and Former CEO of Baxter, USA

– Mike Zafirovski – Founder/President of the Zaf Group and Macedonia2025 Co-Founder and Board Member/ Chair of Strategy Committee

Speech by Mike Zafirovski 


The Macedonia Economic Summit included a community outreach day. On November 18th, two events took place “Get in the ring” & “Leadership Talks”. The first one was aimed at promoting entrepreneurship between high school students and the second one was aimed at promoting leadership among proactive business professionals. We would like to thank Cosmic Development & iSource for their sponsorship of the awards for the best teams that pitched at Get in the ring. We would also like to thank Professor Radmil Polenakovik and the National Centre for Development of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Learning

This event is a platform where professionals and entrepreneurs can network towards success and where world-renowned speakers and experts present the most relevant information and analysis in the fields of technology, business and management. This year’s Summit featured 250+ guests, 40+ speakers and several networking events. To read the Summit wrap up article please click here https://www.macedonia2025.com/activities/single/678