The Balkan Talks

The Balkan Talks

By WBBG
Sanir Pasalic and Sandro Slijepcevic are the hosts of The Balkan Talks podcast, where they talk about developments in the fields of news and business related to the Western Balkans region.

Guests are regularly invited to talk about their experiences with the Western Balkans. By sharing insight and knowledge, we hope that our listeners will learn something about the Western Balkans region and will be motivated to do their own further research for business or other cooperations. Follow us on Instagram (@wbbgofficial), LinkedIn (Western Balkans Business Group) or on Facebook (WBBusinessGroup)!
Where to listen
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S2E3: The World of Balkan Music with Armin Hamzic
You have probably listened to his Spotify playlist at least once: Balkan Hitovi 2020 by Armin Hamzic, the most popular Balkan Spotify playlist you can find! How did this playlist come into existence, what impact is music from the Balkans making and what will the future hold? We talk about all these questions and more as we focus in on the music industry in the Balkans, and examine the central role that music has in Balkan society. We also share our personal experiences and the way in which we have seen the industry changing in the region. If you are interested in Armin's playlist, go and look it up 'Balkan Hitovi 2020' on Spotify! 
1:06:13
February 26, 2020
S2E2: The Next Step in EU-Western Balkans Relations
Keep calm and carry on! Or isn't it business as usual this time around? While everybody is talking about Brexit and the looming goodbye of the United Kingdom, in this episode we focus on what this and other developments in the European Union means for the Western Balkans. What is the current state of things, and how will it impact future accession of non-EU countries in the Western Balkan region? Learn all about it in this week's episode of The Balkan Talks, where we will also be taking the time to answer a few questions from you listeners. If you want to send in a question too, send us a message on any of our social media channels and it might make it onto the show!
1:05:22
February 12, 2020
S2E1: It's Always Sunny in Croatia with Sander Schimmelpenninck
What is the tie that Sander Schimmelpenninck has with Croatia? What brings him to the region, and what keeps pulling him back time and again? To learn more about one of Sander's biggest passions, go and listen to this first episode of the second season of The Balkan Talks! Our Dutch listeners are probably familiar with the work of Sander, but for our non-Dutch listeners, Sander is an entrepreneur, journalist, editor-in-chief of the Dutch business magazine Quote and host of the late-night talkshow "Op1". We focus in on his love for Croatia, why he believes that the country deserves a lot more attention than it does and are treated to a lot of great anecdotes along the way! 
54:34
January 29, 2020
S1E10: Story of a Balkan Expat with Dusan Radicanin
In our final episode of the season we have invited a voice that is not heard (or listened to) that often. What is it like to be an expat from the Western Balkans, to work and live away from your home region? We invited Dusan Radicanin to talk about his experiences as an expat. Dusan is from Novi Sad, Serbia. He currently works at the Rabobank as a financial model validator, and he has almost obtained his doctorate in mathematics. His life story is an interesting one, and we can all learn something from the perspective that Dusan has to share. What is it like for highly-educated young professionals to leave their home country and build their careers and lives in a foreign land? And how is that experience for someone from the Balkans in particular? Find out in this fun and lighthearted episode!
50:29
December 5, 2019
S1E9: Metal Manufacturing in the Balkans with Joris Aalberse
Making the step as a Western entrepeneur to start doing business in the Western Balkans, it is a step that Joris Aalberse has made.  Joris is a Dutch CEO and investor, and together with a business partner he owns Jumbo-Groenewegen group, a company specializing in the production of truck trailers. The business owns two factories in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the Tesanj area, where they employ a few hundred locals in their production lines. Joris shares his story about investing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the things he's experienced, his challenges and the opportunities. He tells us how despite the challenges, the country is full of opportunities. * In this episode we also have WBBG team member Dado filling in as a host for Sandro. 
45:03
October 30, 2019
S1E8: Entrepreneurial Mindset with Amir Sabirovic
What does it take to become a successful entrepreneur? What does it mean to be somebody who takes ownership of their own life and takes full advantage of the opportunities that exist in the world? To learn more about this, we invited AI specialist, speaker, motivator, entrepreneur and manager Amir Sabirovic, to talk with him about his life and career.  We focus on his life and mindset as an entrepreneur.  Ever since he was little Amir has been looking into ways to improve his life, standards, knowledge and experience and he has brought that mindset with him throughout his adulthood and career. He shares with us his vision of entrepreneurship and what it takes to be an entrepreneur. How did he get where he is today? 
45:19
August 30, 2019
S1E7: The WBBG Special with Sanir and Sandro
During the quiet summer months your The Balkan Talks-hosts Sanir and Sandro take the time to tell you more about the Western Balkans Business Group (WBBG), the company behind The Balkan Talks. Next to hosting The Balkan Talks, Sanir and Sandro are also the Managing Partners of WBBG, where they engage in doing business with the Western Balkans on a daily basis. We try to tell you more about what we do at the company, what we have learned about doing business with the Western Balkan region and why we believe it is important to promote doing business with this part of the world. We talk about how we try to spread awareness in the rest of the world about the possibilities of the region, and invite you to contact us if you have any interest in doing so yourself. To learn more, visit our website at www.wbbusinessgroup.com! 
51:29
July 30, 2019
S1E6: Opportunities in Albania's Garment Industry with Veerle Luiting
Producing a garment in Albania, transporting it to Italy, sewing on a button there and labelling it 'Made in Italy'? We talk about Albania and more with Veerle Luiting, about her experiences in the garment industry of the country and what somebody can generally expect from Albania.  Veerle has a background in sustainable fashion and business development and has a lot of interest in Albania. She has lead a number of projects related to the Albanian garment industry and has gotten to know the local factories and economy better than most other foreign entrepreneurs. During this episode, we talk about the opportunities we see in the country, and also about some of the challenges what somebody could face when looking to do business with Albania. Veerle gives us some practical tips on how to deal with these challenges.  If you're curious about the garment industry, manufacturing and doing business in Albania, then this is a great episode for you!
49:29
June 28, 2019
S1E5: Youth Empowerment with Dino Karajic (Mr. Slavic)
Some might know him as Dino Karajic, some might know him through his online handle Mr. Slavic.  In any case, Dino is an entrepreneur, IT consultant and Youtuber who has a lot of interesting stories to tell. During this episode he shares his views on how to empower, motivate and stimulate youth in the Western Balkans. We come to the conclusion that there are more opportunities in the Western Balkans than most people realise, despite the potential difficulties that people in the region might be facing. Having experience in outsourcing and entrepreneurship himself, he shares some of his ideas and views on how to offer local youth opportunities they may not be aware of themselves. Make sure to check out the YouTube channel of Mr. Slavic: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7pc8NmzzxUGtUPrWgPXFZg 
49:19
May 29, 2019
S1E4: EU Elections and Policy with Andreas Zenthöfer
If you are a EU-citizen, then soon you will have to vote again. With the upcoming EU Parliamentary elections, we speak with Andreas Zenthöfer about the EU, the elections and of course the relations of the EU with the Western Balkans region. What do the EU elections mean for the region and what can we expect in broader terms for the future of the EU? Andreas is the Head of Sector Political Reporting & Policy Analysis. He is part of the Representation of the European Commission in the Netherlands. As such, he is stationed in The Hague. Furthermore, Andreas represents D66, a Dutch political party which also has a presence in the EU parliament.
50:21
April 24, 2019
S1E3: The Potential for Tourism with Julian Buijzen
The Western Balkan region is known for all her beautiful nature and spectacular sites worth visiting. But there is so much more potential to discover when it comes to tourism. We sit down with Julian Buijzen, a journalist currently working with NOS and L1 (news outlets in The Netherlands) to talk about this potential. Julian has developed a love for the Balkans through his travels and work, and has some interesting opinions and views to share on the region. In this light-hearted episode, we talk to him about his views on the potential for tourism in the region, the do's, don'ts and we share some of our own experiences as well. 
42:26
March 28, 2019
S1E2: Brain Drain and Stability with Adi Cerimagic
During our visit to Brussels we got the opportunity to speak with Adi Cerimagic, a member of the European Stability Initiative (ESI). The ESI is an initiative that is focussed on the role of Southeastern European affairs in the European context, and Adi travels all over Europe to speak at congresses, forums and panels about his research on the Western Balkan region. His ongoing research on the region has allowed him access to policy makers across the EU and the Western Balkans and thus given him valuable information on the topics of EU policy for the Western Balkans and topics such as brain drain and stability. In this episode, we pick his brain on this topic, so enjoy!
43:30
February 26, 2019
S1E1: Outsourcing IT in Serbia with Amer Grgic
The launch of The Balkan Talks! What is it like to outsource your IT services and business to the Western Balkans? We have Amer Grgic on as our guest, sharing his views and experience on outsourcing in the Western Balkans region.  Amer is the CTO of Tevreden.nl, a Dutch customer satisfaction research company that relies on its software application to provide their services to clients.  The production of this application happened in Serbia, and is still going strong today. Amer has set up and managed this process from the beginning and shares his insights on the process. Amer also hosts his own podcast called Bits vs. Bytes, where he invites a lot of big names from the Dutch technology and business sector to talk about the latest developments.
47:12
January 28, 2019