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The Hellenic Business Association Activities

Anniversary Year

The Hellenic Business Association of Serbia – a private, non-governmental, non-profit association of the Greek business community in Serbia – will be celebrating the first 20 years of operations in December of this year. HBA Serbia’s member companies represent Greek economic interests and are present in almost all sectors of business

Since its establishment back in December 2003, the Hellenic Business Association of Serbia, HBA, has remained committed to its basic goals, which include representing the interests of the Greek business community in Serbia, strengthening and promoting economic ties between Greece and Serbia, and promoting business connections between member companies and other stakeholders in Serbian entrepreneurship.

HBA member companies represent Greek economic interests in the broadest possible sense and are present in almost all sectors of business – the hotel and construction industries, the cement and sugar industries, the petroleum trade sector, the production of construction materials and aluminium profiles, food and beverage retail, the banking and service sectors etc.

STRENGTHENING BUSINESS TIES AND SOCIAL LINKS BETWEEN GREEK BUSINESSPEOPLE IN SERBIA

The HBA organises various events in Serbia with the aim of connecting members of the Greek business community in the country. The HBA’s central event is the Vasilopita Cutting ceremony, which traditionally marks the start of a successful business year in the Greek business world. Other traditional HBA events include the Christmas dinner, at which the Association organises a humanitarian lottery, with the money collected donated to one of the humanitarian organisations in Serbia.

Another regular annual event that has been organised for the past seven years is the Greek Weekend, a three-day excursion for members of the Greek community and their families to get acquainted and establish cooperation. Moreover, members have an opportunity to meet with representatives of the HBA Board of Directors in an informal atmosphere every first Sunday of each month, thus strengthening social and business ties within the community. Apart from this, the HBA also organises an annual summer gathering for members, as well as a special event for representatives of leading Greek companies at the Greek ambassadorial residence, organised in cooperation with the Greek ambassador.

EDUCATING MEMBERS, FORGING CONNECTIONS AND IMPROVING COOPERATION

The HBA cooperates with similar bilateral associations and chambers of commerce through the organising of joint events, with the aim of promoting networking between Greek companies and local and international companies. Good examples of this cooperation are Speed Business Meetings, International Networking Cocktail Parties and International Coffee Breaks held within the scope of the Kopaonik Business Forum. The Association also regularly organises seminars and workshops for middle and top management aimed at educating members.

The Hellenic Business Association of Serbia organises numerous activities aimed at strengthening economic and social ties between Greece businesspeople in Serbia and their networking with other stakeholders in the Serbian economy

These sector-specific events have the goal of educating and exchanging business information regarding current topics related to the legal, accounting, IT, HR, marketing and other sectors. The HBA also supports initiatives that contribute to interconnecting Greek companies in the region. A member of the Union of Greek Business Associations in Southeast Europe, HBA Serbia recently signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with Hellenic Business Associations in Albania and North Macedonia, under the auspices of the Open Balkan initiative.

SUPPORTING EDUCATION AND CULTURAL EXCHANGES

The HBA promotes the CSR aspect of Greek companies’ operations, cultural and historical ties between Serbia and Greece, as well as the Greek language and culture. Testifying to this aspect of its work is the fact that the HBA participated in the organisation of the “Greek Weekend” event in Belgrade during the period from 2016 to 2019, which had the goal of promoting Greek culture, music, cuisine and tourist offers, as well as improving the already traditionally good relations between Serbia and Greece. Demonstrating that the support of HBA member companies to education in Serbia can be more than tangible came in 2013, when these companies carried out construction works and donated essential equipment for the work of the multimedia lecture hall of the Department of Neohellenic Studies at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Philology.

For five consecutive years, the HBA organised a three-month student work placement internship under the name “Greek initiative to work experience”, in cooperation with the University of Belgrade and under the patronage of the Embassy of Greece in Belgrade, with the aim of promoting member companies and the professional development of students, furthering their connection with the labour market and networking within the Greek business community in Serbia. In cooperation with the Hellenic Foundation for Culture and under the patronage of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the HBA awards scholarships for Greek language studies to students of the University of Belgrade Faculty of Orthodox Theology with the aim of strengthening cultural and spiritual ties between Greece and Serbia.

PRESENTING THE COMMON STANCES OF GREEK BUSINESS LEADERS TO THE AUTHORITIES AND INSTITUTIONS

The HBA has had opportunities to meet with numerous representatives of the Greek government and institutions during their official visits to Belgrade, with these meetings enabling the presenting of Serbia’s economic environment and the current business activities of Greek companies operating in the country. Over previous years, with the support of the Greek Embassy in Belgrade, the HBA has met with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Foreign Minister Nikolaos Dendias, former President of Greece Prokopis Pavlopoulos and many others. The HBA also cooperates actively with Serbian ministries and institutions, via the implementation of initiatives linked to improving the business environment, but also through the organisation of joint events.

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