With the aim of promoting the French-Serbian economic exchange and enable communication between member companies, CCIFS annually organizes close to forty different events.
The leading French-Serbian business network, the French-Serbian Chamber of Commerce, is an institution that brings together French companies in Serbia as well as Serbian and other international companies that have trade relations with France or with French companies. The Chamber is also a reliable partner to all companies from France that want to obtain information or start a business in Serbia.
For the third consecutive year, the Startup Accelerator competition was successfully realized. This is a programme that envisages free mentoring support for startups and companies founded no more than a year ago. The winner was the startup company, White Lemur and its project SOMA, which deals with the production of biodegradable material from agricultural waste to replace polystyrene in industry. The winner will receive the support of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, who will help this startup with their business with their experience, contacts and ideas. Also, the winner acquires the right to membership in the Chamber which will provide higher visibility for the company and more business contacts.
„Skills of the Future” panel discussion
In cooperation with the Centre for Career Development of the University of Belgrade, a panel discussion for students titled “Skills of the Future” was held in the Ceremonial Hall of the University’s Rectorate. Last year, CCIFS signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Belgrade and accordingly initiated a panel discussion for students, where panellists discussed ongoing topics related to employment, skills and abilities that facilitate youth employment, as well as global connectivity and the impact of new technologies on jobs in the future. Rector of the University of Belgrade, Ivanka Popović, gave a welcome address and officially opened the event.
The Chamber organizes three to four events a month, of different formats, which provide the opportunity for members to meet, obtain information and socialize with each other.
In early 2020, CCIFS organized a workshop on the French anti-corruption law, Sapin II, as well as a series of online training sessions under the auspices of the Training Centre. Faced with the new situation caused by the coronavirus, the event’s format was changed and for the first time in 2020, CCIFS organized a series of webinars for its members. In cooperation with colleagues from 6 French chambers in the region, we held regional webinars too. Weekly newsletters were sent containing the most important general and economic information which a parallel between France and Serbia. Online meetings of CCIF’s clubs (Transport and Logistics, Infrastructure and Construction, CFO, HR, Digital and CSR) continued unhindered, at which the Chamber’s members exchanged experiences.
The launch of the “How can we help you?” campaign
In the context of the ongoing crisis, CCIFS has launched the „How we can help you?“ campaign. During the state of emergency and after, the entire CCIFS team was available to the Chamber members at all times, intending to provide them with the best possible assistance and support during the crisis. CCIFS was the initiator a public request sent to the Minister of Economy, Siniša Mali, asking for the implementation of additional measures to support small and medium-sized enterprises. The initiative was supported by 12 bilateral foreign chambers of commerce and organizations in Serbia. At the same time, and in agreement with member companies from the construction sector, CCIFS sent a letter to the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure with proposals to facilitate doing business amidst by COVID-19 pandemic. Also, a survey was conducted to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the operational and financial activities of the Chamber members in the Serbian market.
The CCIFS’ main role is to ensure that its members have access to the network of companies, exchange experiences and know-how, and establish cooperation with other members in Serbia and the rest of the world.
Support services for French companies
The French-Serbian Chamber of Commerce has been continuously working to provide support to French companies that want to develop business activities in Serbia. We help companies from France in examining the market potential, finding clients and partners, opening a branch and expansion into the Serbian market in general. CCIFS is ranked in the third-highest category in the network of French chambers of commerce abroad because it provides a complete service to French companies interested in doing business on the Serbian market – from providing initial information about the market to opening and assisting in running a company. The Chamber has been operational for 8 years and since 2019, it has been an official partner of Business France, the state French export promotion agency.
LeBooster – CCIFS Business Centre
As part of support to startups, we opened the LeBooster Business Centre in our premises in Belgrade that has offices, office spaces in the co-working space, virtual offices and conference rooms in a unique French touch environment. Companies can register their headquarters at our address, or rent a desk for a certain period with our Chamber providing the entire logistics, business and networking offer. By operating from our LeBooster Centre, individuals and companies become part of our business community and have access to a network of contacts, as well as numerous events that we organize.
‘Hospitals Ready for the Future’ panel discussion
On October 22, a panel discussion was held on the topic “Hospitals Ready for the Future”, which aim was to present the expertise of French and local companies in the sector of building new and reconstructing old hospitals through the implementation of the most technologically advanced projects. Special focus was on energy efficiency, digitalization and construction of new COVID hospitals and centres. The conference was attended by State Secretary from the Ministry of Health of Serbia, Mirsad Đerlek, representatives of exhibiting companies, the Chamber members, representatives of clinical and health centres of Serbia, directors of general and specialized hospitals, etc.
‘Dialogue with the Tax Administration’ online conference
On October 23, 2020, an online conference called “Dialogue with the Tax Administration” was held following a joint initiative of CCIFS, CCIS and AHK, with the view of continuing the dialogue between companies and state institutions. Measures relating to taxpayers were presented, listing all possible channels for communication and access to information, as well as novelties regarding the protocol on cooperation with the Treasury. The Tax Administration also gave clarifications regarding the application of the Law on Corporate Income Tax and the Law on Personal Income Tax.
‘Water Sector – Smart Solutions for Sustainable Development’ panel discussion
‘Water Sector and Digitalization: Smart Solutions for Sustainable Development’ was the topic of a panel discussion held on December 22, 2020. The panel was held on the Zoom platform, and the participants included representatives of numerous municipalities from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. During the conference, state-of-the-art water management solutions were presented that enable sustainable community development
The French Week
This is one of the most important events, which promotes French products, expertise and culture, through a series of events that take place in several locations in the capital and other towns. The goal of the French Week is to promote historical, cultural and business ties between France and Serbia, while the period when it is held corresponds to a widely popular custom in France – the welcoming of the young French wine Beaujolais Nouveau. The French Week is known for its diverse and rich content and provides guests with the opportunity to participate in traditional events – to learn some of the secrets of French cuisine, taste good wine during the ceremony of welcoming Beaujolais Nouveau, and taste famous French cheeses and other delicious delicacies. This year’s events were organized exclusively online, including the Online Job Fair, Skills Lab – an event for students, and webinars of member companies. Also, an exclusive online meeting was organized with the director of CCIFS, Sanja Ivanić, and the head of the economic department of the French embassy, Fabrice Blazquez, for representatives of French companies interested in exporting to and opening companies in Serbia.