I always highlight the fact that I’m from Kragujevac, both by birth and determination. It was there that I was born, and I take my city, my memories, my family and friends with me wherever my life journey takes me. As a high school pupil, I grew up listening to the music of the band SMAK, performing at Abrašević [cultural and artistic association], playing countless games of basketball and mini-football. All the indications were that I would opt for chemistry and music – if someone had told me back then that I would earn my doctorate in business administration, become a representative of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Serbia and deal with scientific work in Dubai, I wouldn’t have believed them… Life, nonetheless, brings numerous surprises
Already during my chemistry studies, as a member of the Student Parliament, I had an opportunity to complete the Council of Europe’s democratic leadership programme. It was there that I developed a magnetic attraction to communications. I wasn’t afraid to make a career shift and head in a completely new direction. And it turned out that I wasn’t at all mistaken in making such a decision, though to this very day I still occasionally wonder how my life would have looked if I’d seriously resolved to pursue science or music.
After spending multiple years of my career in strategic and business communications, I somehow naturally started working on political campaigns. That led me to a short-lived excursion into politics, which once again taught me a lot – not only about politics, but also about people. Following that jaunt came a new life and career change, in 2015. The possibility emerged for me to go to the United Arab Emirates. I had no dilemma: my wife, Nikolina, and I arrived in Dubai and started from scratch. Everything began again: proving myself, establishing contacts, working on my own development and advancement. Such an approach, coupled with courage and commitment, yielded positive results.
Today, slightly over seven years after first arriving in this wonderful country that provides opportunities for those with knowledge and the determination to succeed, I can state wholeheartedly that the effort and work around the clock have paid off in every sense. I’m a professor at the S P Jain School of Global Management, one of the most prestigious business schools in the Asia Pacific region and, since 2019, representative of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Serbia in the UAE, a country with which Serbia has true partnership relations in the areas of politics and economics.
At the Expo 2020 Dubai an organised performance of our economy has never previously been recorded: over the course of six months, 1,270 businesspeople in nine thematic delegations, five investment conferences, more than 10,000 business contacts with over 120 countries, more than 40 preliminary agreements and contracts
We’ve done a lot in just three years: we’ve reached agreements with free zones, built partnerships with other chambers of commerce, established the Business Hub Serbia, helped dozens of Serbian people launch their own businesses, opened the market up to numerous products and – as I would emphasise in particular – inscribed ourselves in history, as a team, through Serbia’s business programme at the Expo 2020 Dubai world exhibition. Such an organised performance of our economy has never previously been recorded: over the course of six months, 1,270 businesspeople in nine thematic delegations, five investment conferences, more than 10,000 business contacts with over 120 countries, more than 40 preliminary agreements and contracts. The results speak for themselves: exports from Serbia to the Middle East region during this year’s January-July period exceed the result for same period of 2021 by more than 40 million euros.
Dubai offers ever more amenities for people from Serbia. A cultural centre has been established and there are many concerts, theatre plays and activities. The community is increasingly solid and united. I expect the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Serbia to fortify its presence in the period ahead, and for the existing Business Hub to develop into a full representative office. I’m proud of everything that’s happening and all that’s been achieved: if you have a clear objective and possess knowledge, courage, perseverance, responsibility and competence, success is a natural result.
And what about the Kragujevac from the beginning of the article? I’ll return there, sooner or later.