Andreja Pavlović, Director, Nordic Business Alliance (NBA):

In Serbia Nordic Model: A Role Model For Serbia

Nordic companies enjoy a good reputation in Serbia. They are visible, and have a footprint due to their habit of sharing knowhow and innovating with local stakeholders. This is something that Nordic companies pride themselves on globally, and Serbia is not an exception

Serbia’s business community would benefit greatly in the long term if it were to adapt Nordic business practices to its own brand of particular circumstances and habits, especially considering that the strengths of the Nordic business model lie in the exact areas where Serbia could use support.

If we were to look at it across the board, Nordic companies are usually at the forefront of their respective branches in terms of standards of quality, business ethics, competitiveness, social awareness and sustainability. Deconstructing the base values of the Nordic business culture would be the best way to decipher the way it is already influencing our day to day way of doing business, both in Serbia and beyond. Lines of communication between management and employees are very often short. Nordic companies take care of their employees – everyone is significant and their voices are worth listening to. Deliberate and ambitious actions to support sustainable development are integrated at all levels in the business enterprise. Detailed process analyses in terms of energy consumption, raw materials, chemical use, recycling etc.; transparency, trust and honesty; a very low level of corruption in international terms. At the same time, the main drivers in decision making are a longterm perspective, efficiency and performance.

There are numerous similarities between Serbia and the Nordic countries, which mean that examples of good practice could be shared and adapted for Serbia’s own business habits and culture without too much effort. Much like Serbia, Nordic countries are all small, open economies in which foreign trade has great economic significance. They have also evolved rapidly from undeveloped, agrarian countries into modern industrialised economies that are among the most competitive in the world. Due to the analogy, the “Nordic model” could be a good role model for Serbia to follow, and the Nordic Business Alliance-NBA will continue supporting this concept with its efforts.

The Nordic Business Alliance is focusing its efforts in providing a service to companies looking at Serbia as an option for investment. Whether through advising on the mode of entry, explicating the regulatory framework or matchmaking with relevant stakeholders, we are focused on assessing needs and providing support

We at the NBA are noticing a stable and continuous improvement of conditions in the general business discourse in Serbia. We are witnesses to continuous growth of interest and activity coming to Serbia from Nordic companies. This is why we will continue providing support and will attempt to assist in overcoming obstacles with even greater effort in the coming period, as the number of companies present is likely to increase. That being said, the challenges that remain are of a various nature, though if we were to pick a particular issue that interconnects with all facets and sectors in Serbia’s economy it would be unpredictability. Unpredictability leads to hesitation in decision making on the side of companies that are looking to invest or expand.

In developing countries like Serbia, where the government and societal influences are stronger than in developed markets, unpredictable business factors are a norm, and, as such, represent the main opponents of business. That is why the Nordic Business Alliance is focusing its efforts in this area, providing a service to companies looking at Serbia as an option for investment. Whether through advising on the mode of entry, explicating the regulatory framework or matchmaking with relevant stakeholders, we are focused on assessing needs and providing support.

Business follows business, and as such, having many and lasting success stories in business provides a country like Serbia with the best brand possible. The Nordic Business Alliance recognises this and is playing its part in promoting Serbia by providing a framework through our projects and activities. A good example of our efforts in this regard is our next activity. In partnership with the Government of Serbia and the Embassy of Finland in Belgrade, the NBA is organising the Nordic Innovative Business in Serbia event at the Residence of the Ambassador of Finland on 6th September 2016.

At this event we will address Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić and offer different innovative proposals for solving challenges and improving competitiveness, all with the goal of having a positive impact on the wider business climate in Serbia. We will use the opportunity to share knowhow, to provide examples of good practice and, finally, to follow up technically with our partners, all with the goal of making Serbia a better place for doing business.