#FrameOfHelp: We found winning sustainable ideas in Slovenia, Serbia, and Montenegro

November 24, 2022

»We are delighted and proud that our #FrameOfHelp project encouraged reflection and discussion about the sustainable future of our home region, Southeastern Europe, and furthermore, we also found companies that will help achieve this goal. The project showed that there is no shortage of people with responsible and far-reaching way of thinking and people who try to ensure a better quality of life with their actions. Judging by the ideas and innovation of the companies participating in the project, we have nothing to fear for a sustainable future," emphasized NLB’s CEO Blaž Brodnjak when announcing and congratulating the regional winners of the project: the company ANTEJA ECG svetovanje d.o.o. from Slovenia, Smart Watering Solutions d.o.o. from Serbia and Montex Elektronika from Montenegro.

As many as 300 companies participated in the #FrameOfHelp project, with which the NLB Group sought sustainable solutions to the challenges of the future. Among them, the first-level jury first selected 10 finalists from each market where our banking members operate; and the international expert jury then selected the three best among them. The NLB Group prepared sponsorship funds in the amount of EUR 100,000 for three regional winners (the best project will be awarded with a prize of EUR 50,000, the second-placed project with EUR 30,000, and the third-placed with EUR 20,000), while the consulting firm Deloitte offered them 8 hours of free professional advice on the successful introduction of sustainable business into the company's strategic and operational processes.

Who are the companies that will realize their vision with the help of the NLB Group?

ANTEJA ECG: The solution lies in the circular economy, with artificial intelligence being the key

Slovenian company ANTEJA ECG developed a tool for generating sustainable value chains Value Chain Generator (VCG.AI), which uses artificial intelligence and big data to create new chains and connect stakeholders in the region and beyond. "VCG.AI falls directly into the area of ​​the circular economy, as it connects material flows, raw materials, semi-products and waste at the input and output between stakeholders in various industries and in this way builds sustainable value chains," they say. With their solution, they want to ensure 30,000 tons less CO2 emissions and more than 100,000 tons less waste in five years.

Smart Watering Solutions: Focused on water consumption and food production

The Serbian company Smart Watering Solutions has focused its efforts for a sustainable future on sustainable food production, specifically on the development of automated irrigation systems that work with the help of sensors and a mobile application, and in addition to contributing to food supply, they also ensure savings in water consumption. The project has a regional impact on the sustainability of agriculture, and the product being developed has the potential to break through to the global market.

Montex Electronics: Modern technology to face the threat of fires

"Protection of forests against fires is a challenge for every country, and Montenegro is no exception, as it suffers a lot of damage from fires every year," says the company Montex Elektronika that they decided to do something about this issue. Thus, on the basis of research, they began to look for a solution to prevent the risks of fires and reduce their consequences, and developed Mokos, a platform for early detection of fires and timely notification of competent services through an active monitoring center. The project is embedded in the local environment, as it unifies and coordinates the work of several services and citizens when a potential fire is reported.

"Innovators and visionaries like you are needed not only by the companies, but by the entire region and the entire world. We are happy to be able to contribute at least a little for you to promote and bring about your ideas. Once again, congratulations to all finalists and winners," added NLB’s CEO.

And who discovered the giants of the future?

The international expert jury, which selected the three winning projects, was made up of experts from the wider region, who are distinguished by extensive experience and achievements both in the field of entrepreneurship and sustainability.

  • Dr. Nina Angelovska is an entrepreneur who is currently realizing her vision as the director of international business development at Ananas E-commerce. Among her many achievements are also the enviable inclusion on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

  • Mojca Markizeti is director for ESG & Climate in the Audit & Assurance department for Central Europe at Deloitte. An expert in the field of sustainability in the region, she has more than 20 years of experience in applying the principles of sustainable development and circular economy in companies and communities, developing business strategies, managing change and innovation.

  • Davor Sakač has mostly built his 22-year career in management positions in various areas of business, mainly in the telecommunications, FMCG and finance sectors.

  • Edin Mehić is serial entrepreneur, experienced business director, angel investor and consultant, as well as motivational speaker and guest lecturer at several international universities with more than 15 years of experience.

  • Andrej Knez is chief market analyst at Bloomberg Adria, who leads an international team of analytical experts covering the economy, financial markets and corporate financial analysis for the region. His experience includes various management positions in the financial sector, in the areas of risk management and analytics.

"I am honoured to have had the opportunity to work with the other members of the jury. I was surprised by the courage, creativity and deep understanding of environmental and social issues addressed by all 60 finalists of the #FrameOfHelp. Many projects deserve more attention from the public, investors, and the business community. The applications showed how passionate the entrepreneurs are about solving the challenges of their region, as well as how much their innovation can contribute to other regions," Mojca Markizeti explained after the evaluation. "This year's NLB Group motto was 'We are searching for a new Tesla!' For me, this means that one can meaningfully address several challenges with one solution. It also means that the entrepreneur's passion may not be fully understood by most or even all of his colleagues in the beginning, and his or her business case may not yet be appreciated by the public. Nevertheless, the entrepreneur continues on his/her path with drive and focus. For someone like that, an 'out of the box' way of thinking is not good enough - you have to adopt a 'no box' approach and turn from a visionary into a leader, a trendsetter. Being an innovator myself and knowing how it feels, I congratulate all the applicants and sincerely wish them good luck and endless amounts of motivation on their way to realizing their ideas. The world needs your ideas and solutions," she added.

You can find out more about the members of the international expert jury and their business journey on the #FrameOfHelp project website.

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