CEO for a Day 2017: Building relationships between business, education and the community

Aryxe Group took part in the 16th edition of „Manager for a Day“, which has been organized by JA Bulgaria on the 12th of October. The initiative aims to provide high-school and university students with the opportunity to experience the personal and academic demands of daily business operations. During his day as a CEO of Aryxe Group, Ivan Markov participated in client meetings and discussions with different team members, analyzing the daily challenges of our business.

At the official closing ceremony at the Sofia Tech Park our CEO Stephan Muehlemann had a discussion with Milena Stoycheva, CEO of JA Bulgaria about the link between today’s business and the role of education. Here are some highlights on different key topics:

On the role of young women:

  • Milena: “What we (JA Bulgaria) have noticed is that in high schools, while students are doing group projects, about 65% of the leaders are girls. However, due to the nature of the male environment and due to the fact how our culture has perceived women, they would usually choose much more stereotypical roles and they are not the ones that are starting businesses. That’s why, it’s very important to encourage them, to give them right and wrong models and show them opportunities. This could be the way to choose another path.“

On the future structure of organizations:

  • Milena: “Organizations will have more of a flat structure, and everybody would have to show a different way of behavior. We are talking about project based organizations, where you have to respond to a very quickly changing environment.”
  • Stephan: “We (at Aryxe) really don’t care if we hire young ladies or guys, we hire skills and talent. And I think that’s the way it should be everywhere and naturally this will change over time the percentages. The picture in 5 or 10 years will be a completely different one. I don’t believe in quota. I’m more of a believer in the natural evolvement.“

On having a message for the foreign companies, investing in Bulgaria:

  • Milena: “The way the business works nowadays is much more a matter of partnership; it’s not a matter of somebody providing a service to the others. It’s a way of creating a joint value together. What I would like for the companies investing in Bulgaria is to start looking for these partners in the environment and to start educating the workforce.”
  • Stephan: “Looking at Bulgaria and at other countries in Eastern Europe, we see the large players employing a lot of people. I’ve seen something similar – it happened in the 1990s in Scotland, it happened it the 2000s in Ireland – the companies went in there, they employed thousands of people and at some point, they left. And I can guarantee you, the large companies here will all leave at some point when they decide they will get a bit more funding.”

On Digital transformation and the challenges it brings to companies:

  • Stephan: “We are big believers in SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses). In terms of services and deliveries, we work mostly with SMBs (customers and suppliers). This tends to be more elastic and more reliable and it’s more future-proof, because it’s more scalable and at the same time it’s more sustainable.”
  • Milena: “The Digitalization is challenging for both private companies and for the public sector. And this is an area that is creating a lot of disruption – even the big companies are struggling, because it’s completely changing the business model and it’s not a matter of choice. It is a matter of “what do we do about it to predict how to handle it.”
  • Stephan: „I would even say that digital transformation is yet another industrial revolution. The digital transformation is going to democratize the business world even more than the Internet did in the 1990s, which gives SMBs the opportunity to benefit from innovative ways of doing business.“

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