Lumen 5 Editor's Note
After a successful launch in 2016, mirabank and the editorial team at Coba&associates have continued to develop Lumen as a thriving content platform with an extended focus on Western Balkans business intelligence. We aim to complement our valued partnership with clients by giving them access to exclusive informations and finely curated content that is not available elsewhere. Lumen is intended to celebrate interesting people, breathtaking places, amazing events, successful businesses and high-quality services. As of this issue, we will be bringing you stories from all over the Western Balkans via exclusive market reports, bold stories and memorable images that are to inform and inspire you.
Lumen goes hand in hand with our intention to build trust and long-term relationships with our clients and the business community we operate in.
We are still seeing the consequences of the financial crisis that has proclaimed trust as one of the most significant business issues of recent times. Our partners PwC have revealed in their exclusive survey that 58% of CEOs globally and 52% within Serbia worry that the lack of trust would harm their company’s growth. This is a considerable number and a big jump compared to 37% in 2013.
In this issue of Lumen, we look at the Ottoman Empire and how craftsmen were organized into guilds. As a rule, all craftsmen working in the same or related crafts belonged to the same guild. Of special interest today is the solidarity that existed among them. For instance, if a craftsman managed to sell some of his products and a fellow craftsman did not, he would refer a new customer to his colleague who had made no money. This is how the economy in the Balkans worked in those days, and we should not forget to learn from the past in these times of modern business as well.
We also bring you four stories of successful people from B&H, Montenegro, Albania and Serbia who started their family businesses from scratch and have managed to grow them to become well-known and respected brands throughout the region. Interestingly, they all have one thing in common – they all put humanity before profit.
Our extended special report on production and export in the Western Balkans shows that the growth in the region is certainly firming up. The World Bank projected it to strengthen from 2.2% in 2015 to 2.7% in 2016, driven primarily by robust investment and recovering household consumption. Investment continued to drive growth, especially in Albania, Montenegro, and Serbia, while the consumption was mainly fueled by improvements in labor markets (Albania and Serbia) and higher public wages and transfers (FYR Macedonia and Montenegro). Consumption is expected to stay strong, supported by continued improvements in labor market outcomes, while exports will benefit from a stable outlook for the EU.
Boosting investments is the vital requirement for catching up with the rest of the European Union especially with export-oriented investments as they are of special importance for successful restructuring of the economies and efficient return onto global markets. The Western Balkans has a number of attractive features for investors. A big plus is the long-term EU perspective and a unique quality of the region compared with other emerging markets, as it helps to anchor market-oriented reforms and European standards. Macroeconomic stability, strategic geographic location, diverse economies, favorable tax regimes and low unit labor costs combined with a relatively well-educated population are common attributes throughout the region. Moreover, sources of growth include trade integration within the region and the rest of the world, exploitation of the region’s energy resources, improvement of the transport infrastructure and technological innovation.
One of those investors is the German Stada Group, which bought the Serbian pharmaceutical company Hemofarm, that has since grown to be a regional leader. Its CEO, Ronald Seelinger, explains in an interview the benefits regional markets has to offer and how to use them best.
It has been a huge pleasure for the mirabank team, to develop Lumen together with the editorial team and I am sure that the outcome is responding to the complex interest of current business executives. Lumen should not be only a source of information, but it is a wave of inspiration, a piece of good taste and brands, and an exclusive frame for presenting new daring ideas which drive business innovation.