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Round table conference on the consulting services market in Serbia and Romania

The two-day event dedicated to the consulting services market in Serbia and Romania was held on 20th and 21st June in Pančevo, at the premises of RCCI Pančevo and the City Library, with about a hundred participants.

In addition to the members of the Project Team, the event brought together experts from the field of consulting for small and medium enterprises in Serbia and Romania, Serbian senior and junior experts who will visit and do the analysis of 60 companies in Banat during the course of the Project, and representatives of selected companies.

On the first day of the Round Table Conference, which was hosted by the Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry Pančevo, the presidents of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Serbia actively participated in the discussion on the possibilities of developing consulting services for the members of the Chambers. The participants agreed that the relationship between the Chambers and the users of the services – primarily small and medium-sized enterprises – must change in the future, but the pace and scope will largely depend on the decisions and attitude of the state towards the way the chamber system is arranged.

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On the second day, they discussed the consulting services market in Serbia and Romania, the importance of mentoring and consulting services for the development of entrepreneurship, and the obstacles to growth and development of these services.

The general assessment was that the practice of mentoring seems rather low, despite the popular belief that it is a desirable and beneficial form of education, through which more experienced colleagues and businessmen offer useful advice and recommendations, thereby transferring their knowledge and skills.

In terms of the consulting industry, the poor financial situation of potential customers, the unwillingness of company management  to hire an outside consultant, and the lack of recognition of the usefulness and importance of these services by clients are cited as examples of external obstacles to growth and development.

It can be concluded from the meeting that in this day and age of fast and far reaching changes we cannot do without the potential of consulting, but it is dangerous to think that one can easily become a consultant. This field shows a willingness to make progress in terms of continuous learning of consultants and adjustment to the demands of the clients, while respecting the principle that consultants do not run the show i.e. they do not participate in the decision-making process.

In the light of the current economic crisis and further development of the market for consulting services, it was noted that the crisis itself is not a catastrophe and that  finance is not often a problem, but the latter is an indicator that other flows and processes in a company are not working at their optimum and that investment in an individual and at the institutional level contribute to further development and improvement of the concept of buying consulting services which is relatively new in our region.

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