RENEXPO® Water Management will be held from 06th to 08th June 2016 in Holiday Inn Hotel, in Belgrade. Therefore, we interviewed Mrs Myriam Fridman Dobrota, who has been preparing with REECO team numerous trade fairs this year. Speaking of water management, we want to remind our readers that this management is a set of measures and activities aimed at the maintenance and improvement of the water regime, ensuring the required quantities of water, ensuring required quality of water for different purposes etc. This management takes care of water pollution protection and protection against harmful effects of water. Main activities are implemented through the Serbian Governmental institutions, institutions of the autonomous province, bodies of local self-government and public water management company. Specifically, water management is based upon the principle set out in Article 25 of the Water Act. All activities are directed and specified by strategies and plans. Here is what Mrs Fridman Dobrota told us about RENEXPO and upcoming event.
EP: The topics of flood protection, water management and etc, will be discussed during the fair dedicated to water management. What would you highlight or announce?
M.Dobrota: The decision to start with conferences explains it all. We want to introduce the status of the region after the floods in 2014 and again at the beginning of this year. Everybody knows that due to climate changes we must react now. Therefore we will introduce the national and international experts in Risk Disaster Management, Drinking Water, the pipe systems, Waste Water and consequences as well as Biodiversity for Land/Soil and Forest Management. At the same time showing best practice and meeting the municipalities to assist in realizing the demands and needs and connect the potential with potential investors.
EP: REECO operates in Serbia, Romania, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Austria. Tell us how do you manage to organize all that events in the region within a year? What do you consider to be your biggest challenge and what would be unexpected benefit or acknowledgement which you obtained operating in the region?
M.Dobrota: Operating as a foreign organization/company in the Western Balkans is not the easiest task. Although language barriers have been overcome and the network, that we have built, is outstanding, we are still dealing with some obstacles in the region. The Western Balkans has been in hands of mainly monopolists and when markets started opening up and competition joined the business field, the reaction had to be calculated. My personal philosophies in business are never give up and keep smiling in spite of everything. Nothing comes easy and the interesting parts of business are challenges. While leading a company you must be convinced that what you do is right and that the best concept will win the race.
The preparation of each trade fair is so much more then renting a venue and inviting exhibitors. Our customers, that have appreciated RENEXPO since 1997 in Europe know how much effort is involved concerning our events in the Western Balkans. When we started in 2013 in Serbia the international energy industry was very sceptic when we suggested them new market opportunities.
REECO does market research, collects the public and private projects, communicates with investors, defines the program based on capacities and potentials and gathers the regional experts to meet the international industry. It is equally important, that we communicate outstanding regional experts and technologies via our European network, so it is at all times a 2-way-street. The most important service we provide for the country is the translation of Business-Culture, because this is what creates hesitation most. Following our company claim: “We build bridges and open doors” actually describes it best.
Competence is the base of success and of course the readiness to work hard, because every event is different and must be adjusted to present situation, legislation and status. We want to be an active partner in the development of the region and this is the reason why we have decided to introduce a Congress on the Topic of Water Management. At the beginning of 2015 we started to structure the advisory board and in several meetings we defined together with the main participants in those fields to put a program together, that will give all international and regional participants a complete overview on Flood Protection/Prevention, Waste Water Treatment, Drinking Water, Wells and Pipes, Biodiversity, Management of Resources accompanied with side programs, such as successful participation in tenders. We are often asked who is financing our operation. The answer is easy and short: Nobody! We are a private Ltd and we are neither financially supported nor enjoy any other incentives. So to say: we earn our income ourselves.
EP: REECO organizes the biggest trade fairs and conferences in the field of RES and EE, connects institutions and companies, but it is only one of the activities that you do. What else does REECO deal with?
M.Dobrota: Apart from our international platforms for Energy, Environment and Water Management experts, we assist in finding cooperation partners for our international customers, introduce engineers and arrange interview sessions, organize key account events, such as conferences, investor round tables etc. Those are outside the RENEXPO events and assist the industry as well as institutions and ministries to realize the events without involving additional manpower. But also during RENEXPO we organize side programs such as the Climate Change Dialogue in 2015 in Sarajevo, IPA programs, conferences for EU funded programs etc. Additionally, we are always keen to have interesting add-ons, such as the traveling exhibition ENERGIEWENDE that had its EUROPEAN Premiere at RENEXPO® Western Balkans and will be shown also at the upcoming Congress RENEXPO® Water Management.
EP: What is your experience in Serbia, which of the areas are avant-garde, which are the most advanced, most profitable? What would be the future potential of this business in your opinion?
M.Dobrota: Since this question is addressed to me personally I will answer it from my perspective. For me Serbia is one of the countries with most potential for future business. I have been living in Serbia since 2004 and have therefore seen a lot of changes. The needs that Serbia has, go hand in hand with the readiness of foreign investors. We are in daily communication with the investing industry and the interest to establish business in the Western Balkans is mainly addressed to Serbia. Nothing happens overnight and reforming laws and adapting to EU standards takes time, but it will happen.
Speaking about the adaptation it answers the questions almost itself. Serbia has the potential for a great business future due to investments in Renewables, Infrastructure and Environment. As soon legislation is brought into place, all positive side effects such as employment will give the overall economy a big push.
Interview by: Vesna Vukajlović