Investment opportunities in the Balkans are as vast as the mountain ranges connecting all eight nations and what’s particularly endearing to business minds is the favorable political and economic situation in the region. If you are planning to have an entrepreneurial go in southern Europe, here are a couple of things you ought to keep in mind.
1) Your business should learn the local language
While a number of Balkan countries are well-versed in the English language, it would be in your best interest to operate under the umbrella of the native language in your country of choice. This way you can appeal to a larger market base by creating a brand that the natives can relate to as well as offer better customer service. Moreover, this facilitates better communication between employees which influences productivity positively.
2) Make the most of free trading agreements
A number of countries in the region are member states of the European Union and those that aren’t are under the guidance of CEFTA i.e. Central European Free Trade Agreement. The EU has free trade treaties in place among its members however in some states that convenience is in varying levels and is somewhat limited. On the other hand, CEFTA nations such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia enjoy free trade agreements devoid of such shackles. If you’re thinking of setting up a business around trading then you’re better off setting up in CEFTA states.
3) In countries such as Croatia, the hospitality industry is ripe for the taking
With tourism being the economic backbone of a number of countries in the region- Bulgaria and Croatia being the most dependent- the hospitality niche is consequently thriving and affords great value for money. Therefore, it would prudent for you to initiate a startup that taps into this ever-widening stream of revenue in one way or another. Possible ideas include a restaurant offering native cuisines, a yacht leasing company or a hotelier enterprise. Alternatively, you could also put up a simple gift shop selling local crafts if you don’t have too much money to spare. All in all, the country’s industrial sector is coming up quite nicely with its 33% GDP bettering that of all other nations in the Balkan business directory. What’s even more impressive is that this figure is even higher than the EU average.
4) Serbia affords the best geographical vantage point
While the economic and banking infrastructure of the country is still in its infancy, the central geographical location of the country at the core of the Balkans has channeled foreign capital its way over the last couple of years. If your business’ success hinges upon building a base that is conveniently accessible to export and local markets, then Serbia proves an excellent option. Medium and small business will particularly find this nation appealing courtesy of a number of significant non-economic factors.
Each country in the Balkans has its share of good and bad with some being especially conducive for certain niches. Depending on the kind of business you want to set up, be sure to pick your investment choice based on the country whose political, social and/or economic conditions best suit the needs of your company.