Earlier this month, CEED Global Director Peter Righi was invited by the US Embassy in Skopje, North Macedonia, under a State Department Expert Speakers program to address the private sector and government on how entrepreneurship and private investments can propel economic development.
Peter was invited by the US Embassy given his background of more than 15 years working with entrepreneurs in the Balkan region. Below we share a brief roundup of his trip to provide a sense of how CEED works on the ground in emerging markets encouraging and connecting entrepreneurs to help foster economic growth.
One of the first presentations Peter gave was to the Macedonian Chamber of Economy and the North-West Chamber of Economy (comprised of the Albanian minority). Peter discussed the role of creative management and private equity in growing a successful business, with an emphasis on preparation, transparency, governance, and the importance of patient capital. He also touched upon on CEED’s best practices on how to build your middle management given these individuals frequently come from different backgrounds than senior management.
Peter then gave a lecture at two universities, UKIM and SEEU, with a focus on motivating the students to consider entrepreneurship as a career path. The presentation discussed the basics of how to take an idea for a startup and refine it to see what problem it may solve and what business model (if any) would be most appropriate. He aimed to challenge the students on how to get their ideas, applications, new services –whatever it may be, tested quickly with consumers, to then be able to get initial support and build the startups team.
The American Corner Skopje was Peter’s next stop, where he spoke to a gathering of NGOs, student an activitist groups and development organizations about how to help solve some of the pressing issues of the day, including emigration, student skills and readiness for employment in emerging markets. Peter then travelled to our very own CEED Macedonia office, where he spoke to an audience of startups and small businesses on the lifecycle of private firms and the challenges entrepreneurs face in the startup, high growth and maturity phases.
The visit culminated with Peter’s participation in the Macedonia Stock Exchange’s 20th annual conference in Ohrid, along with SEAF Managing Director, Dejan Kalinikov, the CEO of the Stock Exchange and a Swedish startup technology investor working in Macedonia. The panel was centered on financing for corporate development, and the audience was comprised of investors, market analysts, brokers, regulators, bankers and private businesses.
During his trip, Peter also gave various interviews to business publications as well as an interview with a local TV station on what policy makers can do to remove barriers to entrepreneurship, how to prepare the workforce with regards to education, and finally how the business community can do to take full advantage of an anticipated influx of foreign investment.