Conference – Migration and Entrepreneurship: Resource for Development
Conference – Migration and Entrepreneurship: Resource for Development was held on Friday June 14, 2013 at the Institute of Social Sciences, Krаlјicе Nаtаliје 45.
The conference was opened by Nina Samardžić, Assistant Minister in the Department for the Development of Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness of the Ministry of Finance and Economy of the Serbian Government. The introductory speeches were given by: Freek Janmaat, Head of the European Integration and Economic Section, Ivan Stošić, Professor of the Institute of Economic Sciences, representative of the Local Unit of the Regional Research Promotion Programme in the Western Balkans (RRPP), Mirjana Rašević, Director of the Institute of Social Sciences and Sava Marinković, Director of Teleskin, successful transnational entrepreneur. This part of the meeting was moderated by Group 484 Executive Director Vladimir Petronijević.
The discussion part started with the introduction of the research on entrepreneurship of migrants returnees from abroad, transmigrants and entrepreneurs in diaspora, conducted simultaneously in Serbia and Albania. The research results were presented by Jelena Predojević-Despić, Researcher of the Institute of Social Sciences, Belgrade. Policy recommendations were presented
by Brikena Balli, External Consultant and Researcher at the Institute for Change and Leadership in Albania (ICLA) and Tanja Pavlov, Director of Group 484 Centre for Migration. Davide Kalenda, Research Assistant of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Italy, presented results of the research on entrepreneur-returnees in North Africa, Armenia and Mali and by comparative analysis encouraged discussion on possible policies and practices that support entrepreneurship of migrants. Panagiotis Chatziprokopiou, Research Fellow of Hellenic Foundation for European ana Foreign Policy in Athens, was a discussant.
Policies that regulate migration and entrepreneurship were presented by: Nina Samardžić, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Finance and Economy of the Government of Serbia and Viktore Stafuka, Head of Returnee Section, Department of Migration, Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Government of the Republic of Albania. The civil society perspective was presented by Jelena Bojović, Policy Director of the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED). The panel was moderated by Ana Trbović, Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Finance and Administration (FEFA).
The panel on good practices of support to entrepreneurship of migrants was participated by: Aleksandar Čabrilo, President of the Serbian Business Angels Network, Erion Likaj, Executive Director of the Institute for Social Policies Innovation from Albania, Nataša Babačev, IT support in the Business-Technology Incubator of Technical Faculties in Belgrade and Natalija Sandić, Expert Advisor of the Innovation Fund. The panel was moderated by Eldisa Zhebo, Executive Director of the Institute for Change and Leadership in Albania (ICLA).
The conference discussed the possibility to improve economic development of the Western Balkans through the promotion of entrepreneurship of migrants and their cooperation with their home countries. Experiences were exchanged among about 50 representatives of government
bodies, civil society, academia and economy. A key conclusion of the conference is that transnational entrepreneurs are a heterogeneous group and a significant resource that can contribute to the development of various economic sectors. Their importance is reflected in the knowledge of global trends in the area of their expertise, social networks that connect transnational space, job creation, successful placement of products and services at the international market, often innovative approach to doing business, as well as business culture, which includes the value of legalism and meritocracy. It is therefore important to support transnational entrepreneurs through migration and development strategies, but also to engage
them in the development and implementation of development goals. Although there is a reasonably developed strategic and legislative framework, as well as good practices in encouraging entrepreneurship of migrants, due to the lack of their coherence and implementation and insufficient cooperation among stakeholders in these areas (migration, economics and
entrepreneurship), this group of entrepreneurs and their resources remain unrecognised and unsupported, and thus their contribution to the economy of the country of origin is significantly lower compared to their capacity.
The conference and the research presented at this gathering are a part of the project: Transnational Networks, Transnational Entrepreneurship and the Role of the State. The project is a part of the Regional Research Promotion Programme in the Western Balkans (RRPP), led by the University of Freiburg, with the financial support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
The conference was organised by Group 484 Centre for Migration, Institute of Social Sciences in Belgrade and Institute for Change and Leadership in Albania.