The “Swiss-Serbian Business Forum” was held on Friday, October 30, 2015 in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia gathering more than 150 representatives of public authorities, private sector, business associations and other interest groups. On this occasion, participants of the Swiss trade delegation had an opportunity to learn more about the business climate in Serbia as well as to meet with Serbian companies with a view of developing new Swiss-Serbian business partnerships.
In the opening session of the Swiss-Serbian Business Forum, participants were adressed by: Mr. Veljko Jovanovic, Advisor to the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, Mr Marinko Ukropina, President of the Swiss-Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Mr. J. Mischa Mensik, Member of the Board, SEC Chamber of Commerce Switzerland-Central Europe.
Then, Mr. Nenad Bjelogrlić, Acting Director of SIEPA, Serbia Investment and Export Promotion Agency, presented the main economic characteristics of the Serbian market, its most promising sectors as well as fresh information about the impact of the ongoing economic reforms in Serbia.
After this presentation, a round table “Experiences and Perspectives of Dual Education in Serbia” took place in presence of the Vice-President of the Swiss Confederation and Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research of the Federal Council, H.E. Mr. Johann N. Schneider-Ammann and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, H.E. Mr. Aleksandar Vucic.
Dual education means that young people should start thinking about their future career while they are still teenagers and they should know how to apply their knowledge. Workers have to learn in order to fit in, and young people without work experience need to work at least two hours a day while they are still in school, which is something completely new for us, said the Prime Minister. He also said that there are intelligent and creative people in Serbia, but work habits need to be improved. The Prime Minister Vučić pointed to the government efforts to maintain political stability and provide a stimulating business environment for all investors through economic reforms. Johann Schneider-Ammann, Vice President of the Swiss Confederation, confirmed that vocational education is important for a strong economy since it provides professional workforce. A dual education system is practiced in Switzerland, which is willing to help Serbia, said Ammann at the meeting which was attended by the Serbian Minister of Economy, Željko Sertić, and Minister of Education, Srđan Verbić, H.E. Swiss Ambassador to Serbia, Jean-Daniel Ruch and H.E. Serbian Ambassador to Switzerland, Snežana Janković.
The Prime Minister explained that introduction of entrepreneurship as a subject in schools is being considered, in a move to develop the entrepreneurial spirit in both the public and private sectors. He said that innovation was important for development and pointed out that vocational education contributed to increasing the competitiveness and innovation. Schneider-Ammann pointed out that he was an advocate of vocational education, because its benefits were seen in practice. He also pointed to the good relations between the two countries, adding that this cooperation should be further enhanced.
During the round table, Swiss companies and companies implemented in Serbia presented their experience related to the dual education, including Nestlé Adriatic, ABB, Siemens Ltd Belgrade, Emilio Stecher doo, VEEDA and Festo Serbia.
Finally, B2B meetings between Swiss and Serbian companies were held in order to build new business connections and explore potential Swiss-Serbian partnerships and cooperation.