Interview with Dushko Chifliganec, Speaker at Tech.O

As a very successful young entrepreneur back in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he runs a business in the Organic Food & Beverage industry, and as the deputy general manager of Adora Engineering – a company that takes their social responsibility very seriously, he has joined Valoso Hub on this year’s Tech.O, to spread the message of the importance of social impact, as well as achieving equality through innovation and technology.

1. What are some innovative business practices in UAE that can be successfully implemented in the everyday operations of Macedonian companies?

UAE is a place where you can never read yesterday’s newspaper because, any technique or tool that yesterday used to hold for revolutionary or pioneering, is already outdated today. In other words, in UAE, you always have to run only just to stay in the same place. This is true for everyone, no matter if you are entrepreneur or employee. If we discuss about the business practices found in UAE in regards to Macedonia, I would say that most practices adopted in UAE well and long ago, in Macedonia are not present at all, nor I see any particular tendency in the businesses or people in the direction of the same. Most examples where UAE drastically over-performs in comparison to Macedonia would be:

  • the quality of working and business standardization
  • the implementation and usage of e-channels in operations
  • the ability of the state governing bodies to successfully enforce the law in all spheres of life and business.

The Macedonian society lead by the business society has to firstly adopt, improve and get closer to the basic, conventional and long ago adopted ways of working in UAE, and only then, try to stay in step and compete with the innovative business practices, which evolve in UAE such as, the enormous and ever-growing focus on sustainability in all aspects of business and life, or the most sophisticated innovations in the context of CSR, such as the creation of ministry of happiness that actually made UAE the first country worldwide having ministry of such type. Personally, I think that the most important aspect of  progress and moving forward lies in the desire for advancement itself, and people’s mindset is the key and foundation towards more sophisticated, more humane, happier and healthier society.

2. According to you, what are the biggest barriers in Macedonia when it comes to operating a socially responsible business?

To be quite honest, running a business in a socially responsible manner is not something I see any specific barriers in, nor I think there is room for imposed barriers or business environment caused difficulties at the same because, CSR is something that has to arise within ourselves. CSR is not constituted by supporting social events and humane gestures only; moreover, CSR, in its very essence, is based and triggered in the very mindset of the people involved in the business process. In Adora, we see CSR as a deeply embodied way of thinking and manner of operating, in which, all employees, with every action of theirs, have the community and the common good as a priority. The topic, “STAKEHOLDERS, not shareholders!”, which I will discuss at Tech.O explains this exact manner of working and functioning that we have adopted. The only aspect where I see room for improvement and personally believe that would serve as a good source for motivation and incentive for other business entities and people in general, to deepen their CSR habits, would be in the way that the clients and consumers respect and value the efforts and proactiveness invested by companies in implementing and maintaining their CSR behaviour. According to me, clients and consumers have to completely support and, in all possible means, encourage Socially Responsible companies because, if you think about it, in this way only, the clients themselves can feel proud for being part and having a role in the CSR practices implemented by the companies.

3. What would you say the benefits are for the Tech.O participants?

Personally, it is always a great pleasure to share knowledge, experience and ideas with someone, and try to extract and learn something positive from them. The Tech.O participants will have the opportunity to exchange ideas with people who share the same standing point in the sphere of social responsibility and equality. In addition to this, Tech. O participants will have the chance to see the viewpoint of the event speakers, all of whom are part of companies that stand for good examples of successful CSR implementation. I think that the topic is very interesting, absolutely trending at the moment, and correct understanding of the same is key for succeeding in the future.

4. As a successful young entrepreneur yourself, what advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs looking to start their own company?

My advice for all young entrepreneurs and all people in general that have ambitions of any kind may sound like an outdated cliche; however, personally, I believe that cliches contain the most truth because, cliches arise from the personal experience of the people. Moreover, in my opinion, a man’s most valuable capability is the ability to learn from the fortunes or misfortunes of others rather than having to experience everything him or herself in order to learn it. My advice for all people that are hungry for success of any kind is that we are all only as good as we want to be, and everything in life depends upon how bad we really want it. Yes, it is very true indeed that we live in far from perfect era in almost all aspect of life. Not only in Macedonia, but globally, we are forced to face variety of challenges of different natures. Challenges, many of which, even the most world’s most competent experts in the adequate fields do not have an answer nor a clear picture to. However, we are here now and never again, we won’t live life twice.

It is also true that not all of us have the same opportunities and equally favorable conditions to succeed. Some of us have the privilege to sail in calm and warm seas, and others have to struggle through cold and dark surges. Nevertheless, all waters in the world are connected and all oceans are one. In any situation in life, no one can guarantee that you will succeed. However, as long as we are trying, there is a chance that we may succeed, even if the chance is very tiny. The moment we give up, there is no chance for success. My advice to all people is, primarily, to give your life a purpose by setting a goal or a target. Then, to give your very best in fulfilling that goal. For me, losers are not the ones who did not win, but the ones who did not give their very best.