If we think about Serbia, what is the first thing that comes to our minds? Nikola Tesla? Mihajlo Pupin? Novak Djokovic or some other sportsman? The car named Yugo? Perhaps business opportunities in Serbia?
Above all, Serbia is a land of hospitable and friendly people – revelers with a great passion for sports. Its heavenly landscapes, long tradition and rich cultural heritage are making this country one of the countries you have to experience and explore. It is located at the Southeast Europe, surrounded by countries like Hungary, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. With a population of more than 7 million people, Serbia is one of the biggest countries of the Balkan peninsula.
Below we will explain the possible business opportunities in Serbia and why you should consider doing business there.
Business opportunities in Serbia
As a result of the significant structural and institutional reforms made in the past two decades, Serbia is now a candidate country for European Union membership. In April, the World Bank stated that the Serbia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow by 3% in 2018. Additionally, they predict that grow to be 3.5% in 2019. Below are listed some of the business opportunities in Serbia today.
There are numerous successful Serbian IT companies and also foreign companies, such as Microsoft, which have their developing centers here. Additionally, there is a great number of newcomers in Serbian start-up scene.
Serbia’s startup community has been growing rapidly in the past several years. Undoubtedly, it still isn’t on the level of other European countries and has a lot of place for improvement. However, young entrepreneurs are making a significant contribution to the country’s economy growth. In the past several years, there has been over 4 million euros of investments in Serbian start-ups.
Serbia isn’t just a destination where you can find experienced engineers and programmers, but also global-market oriented businesses. Companies such as Nordeus, Seven Bridges or NovelIC are just a few examples that prove that. The impact that the startups have in Serbian economy is so important that, for example, German newspapers, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung even calls Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, “future European startup center”.
Serbia has very favorable natural conditions in terms of climate and soil. Consequently, the country has versatile agricultural production. Additionally, it has a lot of experienced producers, experts and scientists.
Based on the agricultural count in Serbia from 2012, there are 631.122 agricultural households, with 3.355.589 hectares of cultivable soil. In addition, Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Serbia states that agricultural and food industry accounts for 17% of total GDP. However, if we consider whole impact agriculture has on other economy sectors, especially to the producers and manufacturers, this accounts more than 40% of total GDP.
The most important agricultural products in Serbia are: maize, whale, sunflower, soy bean, potato, apple, plums, dairy products, etc… Did you know Serbia is in the fourth place in production and export of raspberry in the world? The country’s only behind Russia, USA, Poland and Mexico, which are all countries with much larger territory?
Infrastructure and Construction
Corridor 10 (Pan-European Corridor X) is a significant and for Europe strategically important highway and railroad. It connects Salzburg in Austria and Thessaloniki in Greece. The corridor has 2360 km, of which 835 km are in Serbia. Officials announced a plan to set aside USD 1.1 billion to improve infrastructure in the Western Balkans. This includes USD 110 million in grants under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA).
The construction itself, now at the very end of the process, will give a strong impulse to the economic development of the previously poor areas of the country.
Finally, while business opportunities may not be the first thing that pops to your mind when you think about Serbia, keeping in mind all of the above, maybe it should be? Although economists and investors are aware of the shortcomings, such as bureaucracy, that aggravate doing business in Serbia, its emerging economy is drawing investments from various sectors. A wide range of upcoming business opportunities have come up in the last couple of decades and the positives outweighs the negatives.
If you want to check out more about Serbia’s business opportunities, check out the website of Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Serbia. If you want to know more business opportunities in other markets, visit our post in the “Markets and Industries” area.