SUMMIT100: We need to take responsibility to develop the region


“I am convinced that this year's Summit100 takes large steps towards the achievement of the vision that we have already, that in five to ten years we will become a region that will not be the last place in Europe as we perceived today”, said President of Board of Directors Iztok Seljak opening this year's Summit100. "I am confident that we will then become a dynamic, propulsive, dynamic and high-tech region that will be a rôle model, to pursue the conditions and possibilities of work and at the same time attract quality manpower from other countries that today we are losing," said Seljak.
He added that two things are common to all countries in the region – each is too small to reach out to the global market but have not disappeared from the region. "It is high time to stop running away from the region in which we live as it is perceived it is not going anywhere. We need to take responsibility and develop the region. We're tired of inferiority and the fact that we are sources of instability for ourselves and others, and we have to move from being seen as part of the problem, to be seen to have the solution”, says Seljak.

He stressed that due to this, they developed the initiative to launch Summit100 in Slovenia in 2008, to break boundaries that had been created. "We must go beyond the construction consortium Phoenix, which has shown it is possible to look for work together in third markets. Smart cities of the future - Ljubljana, Zagreb and Belgrade announced radically reducing the use of fossil fuels, and our wish is to put in the spotlight a rapid rail system that will link Munich and Istanbul, through these cities and provide a fast connection to the countries of the region so that the road from Macedonia or Montenegro not would last longer than a trip to Los Angeles or Tokyo,” concluded Seljak.

Events such as this that bring the economy and politics are extremely important, said European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc. "The European Union, when investing, seeks to connect private and public capital in investment in business and infrastructure projects. When these sources of associations can lead to the achievement of potential, then we have firstly the creation of new values and new technologies and the digitalisation and decarbonisation of transport. Today's meeting is an opportunity to directly connect participants of the economy and politics in the region”, she pointed out.

She added that late April the European Union launched an initiative for the unification of transport networks in Europe with a special draft and network in South East Europe. "I believe that in the next few years this network will be linked with that of the European Union and thus create a unique and powerful transport area", concluded Violeta Bulc.

Prior to the meeting, organised by the Managers' Association of Slovenia, there was a meeting of women entrepreneurs with the Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, at which they discussed the position of women in the economy and the possibilities of co-operation between entrepreneurs in the region. Melanie Seier Larsen, President of the Section of Women Managers of the Managers’ Association of Slovenia, pointed out that the meeting with the Croatian President at the first meeting of women leaders of South-East Europe was very interesting for openly speaking and articulating clear thinking about the role of women in society and in leadership positions. “A President can be a real rôle model for women in the region, and is proof that the will and competence can break through the glass ceiling ", opined Melanie Seier Larsen.
Young entrepreneurs on the panel “Young Leaders for the Region’s Tomorrow”, spoke about future global competition that we are facing through increasing challenges.
Peter Kraljič, world-renowned consultant pointed out that the European Union should strengthen its competitiveness, because the fact is that it is lagging behind North America, while China is approaching rapidly. "On the competitiveness question, is important to attract new capital and to survive in the market which is becoming more challenging for many entrepreneurs", stressed Kraljič.

It is extremely important that young managers take part in such meetings at which the leading names of the region meet to discuss the future of the region, said the President of the Section of Young Managers of the Managers’ Association of Slovenia, Tjaša Kolenc Filipčić. "The issue of talent management is just one aspect that we could use to our economic advantage," suggested Kolenc Filipčić.
Slovenia and Croatia are full members of the European Union, and the convergence of this association is an opportunity for reform in other countries in the region proposed Mary Desivojević Cvetković, Vice President of Delta Holding from Serbia.
Serbia has been granted candidate status and business people, especially the younger ones, are expected to carry out reforms that will harmonise the terms and conditions with those in the European market. Businessmen wish for predictability and stability of the legal framework of the judicial system, as it is in this atmosphere that business ventures can develop steadily, noted the Vice President of Delta Holding.
It is important to develop an effective system for the promotion of micro and small enterprises, considered Janko Medja, CEO of Nova Ljubljanska Banka. Small and medium-sized enterprises in Slovenia and South Eastern Europe are too small a percentage to manage to survive in the long term and be classified among stronger market participants. It is obvious that they need a different approach that would follow them in their professional life.

It is necessary to select appropriate development goals, said Medja. It is proposed that the definition of objectives include to strongly co-operating with entrepreneurs from all over Europe in order to identify points of collaboration. In addition, I do not expect too many initiatives from the government, not local nor at regional level, but there could be incentives for co-operation from the companies themselves and the scientific community.
Too much help from the political sphere is not expected suggests Eldin Hadžiselimović, a member of the ASA Prevent holding from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Politicians, he says, think short-term, in the context of their mandate, whilst entrepreneurs expect a longer-term view and thorough regulation of the business environment. However, policy has a responsibility in building stable institutions and the creation of trust between citizens and states, which then helps business people, and will attract investors from abroad.

Southeast Europe is exposed to a strong outflow of young workers and experts, and it could soon be a developmental problem. To meet the goals, it is necessary to change the educational system and adapt it to a market that is changing rapidly, considered the Young Managers.

Summit100, which brought together a record 180 Southeast European business leaders, is being held for the fourth time. The organisers are the Managers’ Association of Slovenia, Serbian Association of Managers, Atlas Foundation, BBI bank and ASA Holding BiH and Alkaloid from Macedonia.

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