Kosovo Business Forum in Bratislava took place on 2nd and 3rd February 2015 in the Bratislava’s Park Inn Danube Hotel. It was a historically first meeting between Kosovo and Slovakia connecting local administration and businesses from both countries. The organizers of the Forum were Balkans Gateway, whose aim is to connect and enable networking among wide range of stakeholders from Slovakia and western Balkans and M.E.S.A.10, leading Slovak know-how transfer oriented think-tank.
Kosovo Business Forum in numbers:
- 2 days
- 2 mayors from Kosovo
- 6 companies from Kosovo
- 25 companies from Slovakia
- 5 transfer of know-how meetings
- 25 tailored-made B2B meetings
- 1 forum
Kosovo Business Forum focused on following sectors:
- Energy and renewable energy
- Agriculture and food industry
- Textile industry
- Waste management
- Water management
- Public transport
These sectors were selected based on the long-term development visions of Mayor of Prishtina and Mayor of Gjakova, and based on results of in-depth analysis of Kosovo business environment conducted by Balkans Gateway and M.E.S.A.10 in 2014.
Kosovo delegation on the Forum included 10 people. It was led by Mayors from two dynamically developing municipalities: Mrs. Mimoza Kusari Lila, Mayor of Gjakova, former Deputy PM and Minister for Economy and Trade, and Mr. Shpend Ahmeti, Mayor of the Kosovo capital, Prishtina, who were accompanied by the directors for Economic Development from their municipalities, and the Director of the Gjakova District Heating Company, who currently seeks for revitalization partner to the Gjakova heating plant. The Kosovo businesses representatives included owners of the leading distribution network companies in Kosovo (Meridian Corporation, Exclusive Group, Nertili Shopping Mall), consulting company specialized on the investment in region (Recura) and textile manufacturer (Wear&Go). Businesses were represented on the level of owners, CEO or managing partners.
Companies from Slovakia were from areas of water management (water crisis management and cleaning water facilities), renewable energy (biomass and woodchips producers, biomass heating and energy power plants, cutting edge biogas technologies, solar energy), solar and technological lights, brand food and drink producers, construction, tourism, leisure activities, investment, health care, machinery and textile industry.
The Kosovo Business Forum lasted full two days. Program was intense and vibrant and included presentation of investment, trade and business opportunities in Prishtina (presented by the Mayor Shpend Ahmeti) and in Gjakova region (presented by the Mayor Mimoza Kusari Lila); joined by Ms. Dagmar Repčeková, the Director General from Slovak Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, who described current state of business affairs between Slovakia and Kosovo, and by Ms. Katarína Kováčová from Slovak Ministry of Finance, who presented funding options for investment projects in Kosovo provided by government of Slovakia together with EBRD.
Program of Kosovo Business Forum included also transfer of know-how meetings (topics included attracting FDI; energy sustainability; industrial parks as a tool for economic development; transformation of the public transport; transformation of machinery and textile industry, case study Slovakia.)
B2B meetings were the most vivid part of the Kosovo Business Forum. All together more than 20 tailored-made B2B meetings took place between representatives of Kosovo and Slovak businesses.
Program also included visits to chosen companies‘ plants as direct and immediate follow up to contacts made in Kosovo Business Forum.
Slovak stakeholders in the program included: the former Minister of Finance of Slovakia and M.E.S.A.10 president Mr. Ivan Mikloš, Mayor of Bratislava Mr. Ivo Nesrovnal, Ms. Lenka Bartoňová from PricewaterhouseCoopers, former Minister of Economy Mr. Ľudovít Černák, Director of Department of International Institutions, Section of International Relations, Ministry of Finance as well as former Deputy Minister of foreign affairs Mr. Milan Ježovica. Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of SR and the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO) supported organization of Kosovo Business Forum by addressing business community.
Outcomes of the Forum are:
- For the first time in such extend, Kosovo Business Forum brought together business and municipal representatives from Kosovo with their possible partners in Slovakia. Potential for doing business, investing, or trading in Kosovo was introduced to Slovak stakeholders.
- Kosovo representatives started to understand that Slovakia as a country, which made it through transition from post-communism the modern market-oriented economy has a lot in common with Kosovo, and that also Slovakia has similar structure of industry as Kosovo. Companies from Slovakia faced similar problems that Kosovo is facing now and thus today they have a lot to offer today to companies in Kosovo.
- Kosovo representatives also understood that with more than a decade of development ahead of Kosovo, Slovakia is today country of new technologies and products of good quality, though knowledge about this fact in Kosovo is so far missing.
- Slovak stakeholders had a chance to meet face to face key actors of development of Kosovo
- Contacts between municipalities and companies from Slovakia and Kosovo were established.
- Immediate follow up emerged (some companies did second meeting to the factory plants the day after Kosovo Business Forum)
- Door for next cooperation were opened
Follow up activities:
- Organizers of Kosovo Business Forum will keep regular contact with participants of the Kosovo Business Forum to check if the contacts established bearded fruit
- Systematic approach to support of business between Kosovo and Slovakia will be developed