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Nicolas Marquier, Regional Manager for the Western Balkans at the International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Financing the Future

IFC, the largest global development institution, has...

Dr Ivan Todorović, Todorović Law Firm

Dedicated Advisors and Tenacious Litigators

The Todorović Law Firm has existed for...

Marija Stojiljković, Founder, Royal Nanny

Children Deserve the Best Nannies

Royal Nanny offers a wide range of...

Petar Miljković, CEO, 14. Oktobar d.o.o.

Employees are the Company’s Real Strength

This former Kruševac giant, which has come...

News

Maserati’s Balkan Expansion: New Showroom Opens in Belgrade

Delta Auto Group has unveiled an exclusive Maserati showroom in Belgrade, setting new luxury benchmarks in line with the...

Peter Pellegrini Wins Slovak Presidential Election

Peter Pellegrini, the candidate from the ruling coalition, won the second round of the presidential elections in Slovakia, securing...

Strategic Energy Partnership Established Between Serbia and France

The Serbian Government adopted a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Serbia and French Electric Power Company (EDF),...

Serbia-France Innovation Forum Begins: Innovate for the Planet! Play Green!

At the Serbia-France Innovation Forum titled 'Innovate for the Planet, Play Green', which commenced at the Palace Serbia, French...

EU and EP Finalise €6 Billion Support for Western Balkans

The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have finalised a deal to provide an additional six...

Sanja Ivaniċ, Managing Director Of The French-Serbian Chamber Of Commerce

Embrace The Unpredictable

Little did I know that 33 years ago, when I was handed the French flag at the opening of the European Championships in figure skating in Sarajevo, that flag would be mine to carry for life

I was born in Belgrade, but lived around the former Yugoslavia, spending the last years of our Yugoslav life in Sarajevo. It was in 1992 that I left the city that was under siege with my sister, and I wandered Europe seeking a place to stay. From Croatia to Czechia, from one refugee centre to another, we didn’t feel welcome anywhere, until we arrived in France.

The first thing they told us upon arrival was “You girls have to go to school, you need to continue your education“, which was exactly what our parents told us when we’d left home.

And that was it – despite not having with us the diplomas to prove which grade we were in (“we trust you”), despite not speaking French (“you will learn”), before we knew it we were quoting Voltaire and eating roquefort at the end of a meal as though we’d never known sarma.

And while our country was falling apart, along with everything we loved, we both plunged ourselves into our studies. I was good at maths and languages. I studied engineering and literature, but somehow ended up working in business intelligence and loving it.

I also loved living in Paris, and still do. But when, 19 years after my arrival, I heard that a French chamber was opening in Belgrade, that seemed like an opportunity not to be missed.

I’m very lucky to have been working at the Chamber from the start and to have been able to build it up from scratch. That was difficult, as I was working alone, but it also gave me incredible freedom in creating.

My job is very interesting: I work both for our members, for whom we organise events, advocacy, PR, etc., and for French companies in France that are interested in the Serbian market, for whom we carry out market research studies, identify clients and suppliers, or even open factories…

We may not be the biggest chamber today in terms of numbers (my fellow Frenchmen are still shy when it comes to the Serbian market), but we organise the most events and are the friendliest community – completely subjectively speaking, of course. One member told me some time ago that the CCIFS is the perfect combination of business and hedonism – so there you have it, the best definition of the French chamber ever, and precisely what make us different from everybody else.

Related

Sanja Ivanić, CCIFS CEO

It Is Important Our Members Know We’re Always Here For Them

With good internal organisation, we've succeeded in being available to members at all times, and that will be the same in the future Even prior...

French-Serbian Chamber Of Commerce January Gathering

A January gathering of the French-Serbian Chamber of Commerce's members was held at the Chamber premises with the aim of presenting an activity program...

The past couple of years proved particularly successful for the CCIFS. We had some major French companies launching operations in Serbia, as well as president Macron’s visit and ever more members joining us. But then the Coronavirus pandemic came and stopped us all in our tracks. Not for long though: like every crisis, this one is also an opportunity for something new to emerge, and we did that – digital transformation everywhere, new formats, new events, a new us.

I believe 2021 will be an extremely exciting year. I know we will be able to restart and capitalise on what we acquired before the pandemic and combine both old and new tools. I’m looking forward to it.

In conclusion: embrace the unpredictable! Life has a way of taking you to places you never dreamed of, despite all the plans you might have made, so better fasten your seatbelt and take the ride. And you never know, you might get lucky and end up somewhere like Paris.