January 26, 2021

What can the private sector say about economic development?

Marko Kovacevic

Although we are working with companies worldwide and are growing our business from a global perspective, we still think of ways to positively influence the region we are based in.

Several months ago, I was invited to be one of the speakers at an international conference that precisely tackled this question. It made me think about how we can create a better growth environment for our future generations. To be more precise, this is the event that inspired me for this blogpost the session was: “Exploring Private Sector Contributions to Sustainable Development Among European Union and Aspiring European Union Member Nations of South-Eastern Europe," sponsored by the Kozmetsky Center of St. Edward's University (Austin, USA) in cooperation with the Center for European Studies and Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. 

Key ingredients for success

All my thinking I tried, as I always do, to put into pillars. The conclusion came to the following, in order to craft the future stage of economic developments in the region, we have to grow three key ingredients:

  1. Curiosity — Grows learning, enhances the entrepreneurial spirit, forgets the borders, connects people, and creates a new way of solving problems.
  2. Expertise — Offers long term credibility and focus on small nations. Being a World-class domain expert in today's world is a chance for small economies. We can not compete with the scale with the biggest guys, but we can compete with specific niche expertise, which will be on a world class level, just like our sportswomen and men do.
  3. Capital — Structured access to capital for growth and new ideas makes the previous two points meaningfully amplify. This is the precondition for the future development of small and mid-size companies, as well as medium to big ones enabling them to internationalise. There is a lot of space in this area and a lot of chances to improve. Access to capital means an opportunity to play the Major league game and take your shot.

Why is the synergy of these three elements essential?

Although the focus is important, and it is often the key to successful businesses, these three elements need to be developed simultaneously when it comes to economic development. Once these ingredients are combined, the synergy of Curiosity, Expertise, and Capital opens an opportunity in:

  • Innovation
  • Collaboration
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Learning
  • Repatriation

Let’s now get into each of them in more detail, looking at them with a regional lens. Innovation unlocks the potential for multicultural approaches from very different backgrounds. It enables us to move from individual markets to a more significant regional or even global market. 

Innovation is harnessing the built in creativity & ingenuity of our region's people and fosters it further. Innovation can bring countries from the region closer by realizing that our shared circumstances are a net multiplier to our success. 

Innovation leads to combining learning, research, and development, making it cross-border and cross-industry.

Finally, the creativity needed for innovation stems often from restrictions and size — the more challenging the environment, the more creative and innovative the region is.

Collaboration is the core of Signet World’s approach to creating evolutionary growth for businesses. The same principle works in all the other sectors. The only way for small markets to grow is to share the expertise, knowledge, and ideas is through collaboration. This is how the next level of growth can be achieved.

Thriving in today's world only comes like we see it in multiplayer games. Everyone has their role, everyone gives trust upfront, everyone puts their individuality into a common goal to succeed in the overall game.

Entrepreneurship is the backbone of every stable economy. We can only rely on ourselves and our capacity to create and share value in the future. The big players are there to stay, and they create gravity. Still, entrepreneurs learn to leverage it to slingshot themselves into the leading position, and they are the ones who make a difference in the respected markets.

As my good friend and Signet World advisor Alexander Fernandez often says: “You can only count on what the two hands in front of you make and the people who are willing to come and help you.”

We need more education about the value of opportunity entrepreneurship creates. We need improvements in the business climate to remove the impediments, and we need a bigger market to play, which comes by uniting the region.

Learning comes as a next-level development with exercising Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and with open Collaboration, it creates an outstanding body of knowledge. We capture the beauty of knowledge by learning and practicing and making mistakes from which we take our lessons and come back stronger.

This is a collaborative advantage that serves all stakeholders and knows no barriers to achieve success.

Repatriation is the most critical measurement of success for the whole region in economic, cultural, and development aspects. We can attract the talent to come back by creating the right opportunities, which are challenging enough.

We achieve this by focusing on world-class expertise areas to grow and share with the world, like Data Science, Digital Supply Chain, Digital product development, Circular Economy, Games, etc.

Team play

To conclude, sustainable growth is only driven by collaboration, sharing, and taking your shots as a team. Everything else is a dream on which we hallucinate if we do not take collaborative action.