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Swiss EP

Meet Carsten Broich - Expat entrepreneur scaling globally from Skopje

Attracting international founders in emerging markets is still one big challenge. Why North Macedonia is becoming attractive? Let's find out first hand from Carsten Broich - Expat entrepreneur from Germany, who is scaling globally from Skopje.

The countries of the Western Balkans have been struggling with highly qualified and professional people leaving the country since the collapse of Yugoslavia. Until now, neither the promise of European integration nor foreign investments have been able to shield the country from this ongoing negative human resources trend

In its 2019 report, the World Economic Forum confirmed that North Macedonia is among the countries with the biggest brain drain in the world.

Could the entrepreneurial ecosystem offer a different strategy to combat this negative trend?

In the summer of 2019, Swiss EP EIR Roland Simon introduced Nina Nikolikj of Swiss EP to Carsten Broich, founder of Sales.Rocks, a startup focused on SaaS B2B automation. Carsten has been an entrepreneur since he left school in Germany. In fact, Carsten has never been employed by anyone other than himself. During his first year at the university in the Netherlands, Carsten founded Sample Solutions, a data provider with a transactional business model.

In 2016 Carsten and his friends visited Skopje and he fell in love with its people, tasty organic food, nature, vibrant city and the low living costs. Later in the year, Carsten returned to Skopje to open a branch of Sample Solutions in the city’s first coworking space and hire his first employees. “Here people use the English language perfectly, they are very open for collaboration, there are good flight connections with major EU cities and we operate in the same time zone”, Carsten summarizes his decision to set up business in Skopje. Only three months later, Carsten’s team had taken over all desks in the coworking space. It was time to move on and find a private office.

Fast forward to 2019, Sales.Rocks has 2 offices in Skopje and employs 60 talented young people, many of whom might have emigrated had Carsten and Sales.Rocks not created the opportunity for them to stay and thrive in North Macedonia. Clearly, the Macedonian ecosystem has all the ingredients required to build and grow a globally competitive startup at exponential speed, including access to tech talent, business friendly climate, dynamic ecosystem, funding opportunities, space and at competitive costs.

Soon after meeting with Nina, Carsten receives an accelerated introduction to the Macedonian startup ecosystem by Swiss EP team and experts. Carsten quickly deep dove into the ecosystem, networking and sharing experiences with fellow startup founders. As a mentor on B2B sales, Carsten now contributes to the Seavus Accelerator program. To boost his own personal and professional development, Carsten also joined the Startup Macedonia Founders Club and attended the Club’s work sessions with Swiss EP experts such as Barbara Fischer and Marco Stutz on fundraising, Blaze Arizanov (business development) and Francesco Cracolici on sales.

Looking ahead, Carsten’s focus is on further growing his startup in North Macedonia with a global outreach, employing more local talent, while at the same time taking on a bigger role in supporting the local startup community.

We are looking forward to more collaboration with Carsten and Sales.Rocks as it strives to become a global success story made in North Macedonia. And hopefully Carsten will inspire entrepreneurs from around the world to join the expat entrepreneur journey, and launch and scale their startups in North Macedonia, therefore contributing to more highly qualified and professional Macedonians fulfilling their dreams at home.

Interested to get hands-on experience in the startup ecosystem of any Swiss EP country? You can apply to be a SwissEP Entrepreneur-in-Residence.

Wanting to relocate and open a satellite office? Startup Macedonia will support you through its Soft Landing service.