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Francophonie – Language startegies for companies

Marija Tasic, partner at Tasic & Partners, participated in the round table “Why and how should a company develop a language strategy?” organized as a part of the traditional Francophonie month in Serbia, held in the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce on March 23 2016.

The round table was dedicated to the efforts of companies in developing and adopting language strategies in doing business with the French-speaking companies and markets.

The Ambassador of France, Ms. Christine Moro, said that the International Organization of the Francophonie aims at promoting a model of sustainable development as well as cultural and linguistic diversity, noting that French is an official language of the United Nations and the European Union, and very important for business.

Ms Marija Tasic highlighted the importance and benefits of multilingualism for small and medium-sized enterprises, which opens the door to new markets and, therefore, new business opportunities. ELAN (Effects on the European Economy of shortages of Foreign Language Skills in Enterprise) confirms the impact of language strategies and the direct relationship between language and the trade performance of small and medium-sized enterprises. For example, the average loss per business over a three year period in ELAN is €325,000. In the sample of around 2000 businesses, 11% SMEs had lost a contract as a result of lack of language skills. 43% reported to have increased their turnover by more than 25% by introducing a strategy with new languages, and for 73% SMEs sales turnover has increased by a minimum of 16%.

The round table highlighted the fact that the economic cooperation between Serbia and France has not yet reached its full potential, with the most room for further growth in the energy, construction and agricultural sectors, with public-private partnership as the most interesting and attractive model for investors.

Among other participants were the representatives of the French-Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the French Institute in Serbia, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, as well as some French companies doing business in Serbia, which presented their experience and proposals regarding the possible language support to companies in this field.

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