The Summit had another stellar line-up that provided amazing insights on how to make Macedonia stronger, and how to be a better leader.
Moving the economy forward
Anthony B. Kim (Research Manager, Heritage Foundation) said that one secret to Macedonia’s future economic success is an engaged diaspora: their experience, success and passion can move the country forward. “Macedonia needs to be your project”.
The role of government is to be proactive in providing strong institutions and economic freedom that enables investment and economic growth. Long-term economic success requires all the main political parties agreeing on a common economic vision for the country. Macedonia needs a commitment to sustained economic growth of greater than 4 per cent in order to be transformed.
People are the key resource according to Ghassan Hasbani (Lebanese Deputy PM and Health Minister) and Otto Georg Schilly (Former German Interior Minister). Both Germany and Lebanon provide examples of how investment in health, formal education, and on-the-job training can help an economy grow despite difficult circumstances. Macedonia needs a system that better delivers quality human capital. Recent reports on Macedonia’s education system are of concern.
How technology is changing: business, medicine, and environment
AI and cloud computing are not new but they are reaching a level of maturity where they are now changing the practices of SMEs. Christian Rupp, Spokesperson of the Federal Platform Digital Austria, explained how SMEs need training to realize the full possibilities of digitalization.
AI, big data, and augmented reality are changing medicine. Doctors are diagnosing people with the help of AI. Augmented reality allows doctors to work with patients and other doctors remotely. In parallel, the declining cost of human genome sequencing is increasing the amount of key data available for each patient.
The circular economy is growing. Products are being designed for recycling so that resources stay in the economy. Even food is being recycled into packaging. Sustainable production and energy is possible and while the price is a problem, new business models are finding a way.
Turning Macedonia into a start-up nation
According to Scott Resnick (Founder and ED of StartingBlock), there is no one magic method for turning Macedonia into a start-up nation. Accelerators and government need to keep asking themselves how they can help start-ups. Method is not the platform. The method is just asking questions, listening and helping.
Macedonian companies need to think global because of a small domestic market and lack of capital. Macedonian entrepreneurs need to transition from building great products to building great companies. “30 years ago we were socialist. Our parents did not start companies. We are first and second generation entrepreneurs”, Emma Poposka, Co-Founder and CEO of Bron.Tech.
The Mindset of a Great Leader
Professor Kevin Murnane (Kellogg School of Management) gave a short masterclass on the mindset of a great leader. Mindset is the choice of a leader to set his mind in the direction needed to achieve their goals. Mindset is not fixed but should be changed as goals change or if you get stuck. “You need to reflect on what you’re doing every day to improve. Think big and look to grow. If you haven’t achieved what you wanted just tell yourself ‘not yet’ and keep going”.
A new industry: Cannabis
Macedonia was an early adopter of pharmaceutical cannabis production, and is now reaping the rewards. With such a highly regulated industry, Government and industry must continue to work closely together to ensure continued growth.
Brendan Filipovski, Research Manager, Macedonia2025