Macedonia provides boost to student entrepreneurs

13/10/2012

The government reduces cost for students to register their own companies.

By Goran Trajkov for Southeast European Times in Skopje -- 13/10/12

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Macedonia has reduced the fee for students who wish to register new businesses. [Reuters]

Macedonia has significantly reduced the fee for college students who start new businesses in an effort to encourage a new generation of entrepreneurship.

The cost to electronically file with the Central Registry, which administers registrations of new businesses, has been dropped from 19 euros to 4 euros for students.

According to the World Bank's 2012 Doing Business Project, which measures business regulations and enforcement around the globe, Macedonia ranks first in the ease of starting a business among 30 nations in the Eastern Europe/Central Asia region.

"With these prices, and the steps for opening business, Macedonia is definitely a leader in the European framework for low cost and small number of steps to open a business," said Aleksandar Gjorgiev, a government spokesperson.

Natasha Kraleva, dean of the faculty of entrepreneurial business at the University of Tourism and Management in Skopje, welcomed the reduced fees.

"This decision is beneficial to all students who have an idea and want to start their own business, but the previous amount, which was several times higher, was an obstacle," Kraleva told SETimes. "The future of any economy, including ours, lies in [small and medium enterprises], which employ the majority of the working-age population, and therefore I think that this step will contribute to the development of the Macedonian economy."

College students said they were encouraged by the news.

Simona Dimovska, organising secretary of the student parliament at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, called the fee "quite affordable" and told SETimes it would help students to develop the private sector economy.

Dimovska said it will be important to organise informational meetings so that students are aware of the opportunity.

"Through such direct meetings, the students would understand that it is really readily available, and at the same time would incite them to think and develop their entrepreneurial spirit," Dimovska said, adding that the new policy could help reduce the unemployment rate, particularly among young people.

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In some neighbouring countries, registering a company is regulated differently. While there are not any advantages for student entrepreneurs in Serbia, those in Kosovo do not face financial obstacles. Late in 2011, Kosovo changed its company registration policies in order to promote business activity. Under a new policy, there is no fee for starting a business.

"Until last year, small businesses paid 5 euros for starting a small business and 20 euros for a corporation. Taxes are annulled for both categories," Mehdi Pllashniku, co-ordinator for legal and practical issues in Kosovo's Industry and Trade Ministry, told SETimes, adding that new policies have reduced the time it takes to register a business from 10 days to three days.

Marijana Dimovska, a student at Ss. Kliment Ohridski in Bitola, told SETimes that Macedonia's reduced fees provide an opportunity to attain professional goals without having to borrow money from her parents. Establishing a firm still requires 5,000 euros in addition to the registration fee, but government subsidies are available to help offset that cost.

"Finally I realized this dream, hoping that the company will succeed," said Dimovska, who plans to start a 3D animation business that will create cartoons and commercials.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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