Nedeljnik – authorised text Zorica Todorović, Human Resources Director
Walt Disney once said that we can realize all our dreams only if we have the courage and strength. When it comes to entrepreneurship, I can not agree more. Due to the nature of the work, I am surrounded by young, ambitious people. The strength, inventiveness and courage they carry as a generation that is conquering the world is incredible.
Unfortunately,as it often happens, reality, statistics and environment make them blend into the mass.
Unemployment of young people today is a global problem. A few years ago, the World Bank announced that it will take 600 million new jobs in the next decade just to keep the unemployment rate at the same percentage. Consequently, a large number of young people turn to starting their own business.
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Index of the US Institute for Global Entrepreneurship and Development, Serbia ranks 74th out of 137 economies in the world. According to the sources of the World Economic Forum, Serbia has educated people who are skilled workers and are very open to the world and innovations. However, every fifth younger person in our country is the owner of a company or an entrepreneurial shop. They do not go into independent business waters in the thirties, as opposed to European peers, who swim in these waters as ten years younger people. This means that they have the power, knowledge and will, but they lack the systematic support of society and companies on the market.
The interest of young people to set off entrepreneurial waters is more and more noticeable lately. The Serbian Chamber of Commerce in its reports confirms that in recent years, young people increasingly turn to entrepreneurship, but also that the state is increasingly paying attention to this topic through numerous amendments and supplements to legal solutions in order to create a more favorable business environment.
Finance represent a bottleneck for youth entrepreneurship. Costs and fees are high, and young people are considered to be extremely risky category, thus they are out of radar for most traditional financial institutions. For example, one of the major challenges among new entrepreneurs are obligations they have towards the state as a newborn company. After the measure of exemption of income tax and compulsory social insurance for business beginners came into force in October 2018, and only in the first year of business operations, as many as 470 companies and entities in 31 municipalities in Serbia were established by the end of the year.
Securing capital is only the first step in starting a business. After this, skills and experience are of the key importance for making success. Usually, having an idea, natural talent and courage is not enough. It is necessary to have an experience, which young people, as it’s in the nature of things, do not have.
However, then companies such as MK Group come into play. These companies are ready to transfer their knowledge, experience and expertise through various mentoring programs.
One of the positive examples is the one-year mentoring program of the American Chamber of Commerce “AmChamps – Young Leaders of Change”. The most successful students of the Belgrade University and young managers, the AmCham member companies, provide the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary in modern business through lectures, workshops and projects. MK Group has been the key partner of the AmCham for six years since the launch of the program. Our colleagues are pleased to take the role of a lecturer within this program.
In addition to cooperation with the American Chamber of Commerce, we cooperate with the majority of faculties in Serbia, implement the program practices, but we also try to encourage and develop the entrepreneurial spirit of our employees. A concrete example is the program “Launch your idea”, where all MK Group’s employees and its members are encouraged to propose ideas and innovations for improvements with the possibility of financing this idea. In this way, we encourage them to develop entrepreneurial spirit and innovation in a safe environment.
Youth entrepreneurship offers innovative solutions for economic development and the growth of the state in general, and therefore, as a responsible society, we need to provide a strong support. No matter whether it’s about young people who are deciding which career to choose or about people who are already employed in our company, the goal of all of us in MK Group is to give our contribution and encourage them to use their knowledge and skills in the best way. Only then can we create a positive business climate together both for us and for the generations to come.