Following the final of the ‘Open to Export International Business Awards‘, we talk to some of the finalists about the impact that the Export Action Plan tool has had on their business and their exports.
(Photo: © WTO/Jay Louvion)
Company: KP Macedonia-Export
Representative: Petar Lazarov
How did you find the experience of pitching to the judges during the final?
It was a great pleasure and opportunity to present our concept in front of the judges. We do not have many chances to promote our business model and check its strength. During the pitching session I had an opportunity to learn a lot about how the judges interpret our model.
How did you find the experience of being at the WTO Public Forum?
It was fantastic experience – it was my first time at the forum. There were many interesting topics and sessions that I have attended, from which I learned a lot.
The networking was also very important for me. Besides the Open to Export team (the organisers and the finalists) I had a chance to meet and discuss with various representatives from different sectors.
How did you find the using the Export Action Plan tool and what impact did it have on your business?
It is a perfect tool for SMEs that want to export. It is a great tool to systematise your business model, focus your intentions and have a better understanding about the internal and external factors.
Looking ahead, what’s your next step now as a business?
Execute the plan we have with MAMA’s (one of our products), to position our product in the mainstream market – preferably, starting with USA, Canada and UK.
What three tips would you give to other MSMEs looking to enter international trade?
- It is not easy! You will need to be prepared to sacrifice a lot.
- Shocking the system – you need to be different from the others. Everything is already out there, and a lot of it!
- Educate yourself constantly – no matter how big and powerful you might become, always invest in your knowledge.
MACEDONIA-EXPORT (www.macedonia-export.com) is a unique type of Macedonian company (also unique for the region) specialising in Branding and Export. We serve as international trade intermediary who represent Macedonian manufacturers in selected export markets. Our primary purpose is to help the Macedonian manufacturers build or expand their exports. We try to fill in the gap or function as a bridge from the old, rigid economic system (post-socialist) and the new market trends and fast moving global, market-oriented economy.
The main idea is to create successful brands that will influence and provoke a positive image of this region in the world. Moreover, we like to inspire the next generation of young entrepreneurs to follow our example and participate in further developing the region.
Besides the Branding & Export services, we also offer Marketing, Branding, Sales and Export Consulting Services; we facilitate trade opportunities and joint ventures between international businesses and Macedonian companies.
Until now we have developed 2 main brands:
- MAMA’S (www.mamasfood.mk): Traditional homemade recipes – a collection of high quality, all-natural ingredients, great tasting, premium products with authentic and widely acceptable tastes made according to traditional recipes from the best housewives in Macedonia. MAMA’S is exported in more than 30 countries.
- TIP OF THE WEEK (www.tipoftheweek.co): Manual for personal and professional development published in Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, BiH and Montenegro. In 2018, after a successful Kickstarter campaign, we developed an English edition aimed for the global market.