Valor Group helps SMEs in Serbia cope with coronavirus

By Stasha  Igrutinovic

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EBRD and EU supported the business consulting company with an e-learning platform

An advisory project supported by the European Union’s (EU) Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF) and the EBRD helped Valor Group, a corporate training and consulting specialist, launch an innovative digital platform for hosting its range of learning programmes. Not only did this tool help bring Valor Group’s services up to digital speed, but it also turned out to be the linchpin of an agile business model that ensured the company could continue operating throughout the coronavirus crisis.

Filling the gaps in know-how

After completing his studies in France, Aleksandar Vasilski returned to his home country, Serbia, where he jumpstarted a career in finance and built up expertise in successive roles in banking institutions. These experiences opened his eyes to a gap in the market in professional education and consulting services, which he aimed to fill with his own company.

The desire to learn, to share his knowledge and to be challenged by others compelled him to launch Valor, a business advisory firm with a two-stream training and consulting programme targeting small businesses and professionals in the financial services industry.

With its base in Belgrade, Valor Group quickly established itself as an academy and consulting partner of choice. A team of three specialists design learning programmes together with clients, gauging their specific business needs and addressing them through tailored training sessions. Workshops, on-the-job-training and certificate programmes are just a few examples of Valor Group’s multipronged and well-considered approach to learning.

Yet fostering long-term partnerships with its clients had always been Mr Vasilski’s objective, as he saw Valor Group’s added value as a lifelong journey of learning, and not merely a destination, as the old adage goes.

Harnessing the digital wave

New digital technologies have ushered in an era of round-the-clock information, and Mr Vasilski knew that his existing business model of in-person appointments hampered his ability to tap into new markets, broaden the scope of his activities and chart a new path for his company’s growth.

With joint support from the EBRD and the EU through the WB EDIF, Valor Group engaged a consultant to develop a new e-learning platform, allowing remote access from any electronic device. This new digital tool effectively transformed Valor Group into a virtual learning hub where clients from various programmes could interact, share knowledge and build partnerships.

As the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded, the online platform proved to be a strong bulwark against disruptions to Valor Group’s operations. Mr Vasilski and his team seamlessly pivoted their business model to remote and digital work, and quickly deployed their expertise virtually to help other small businesses cope with the negative shocks of the pandemic.

The impact of the coronavirus has inevitably raised questions among small businesses about cash flow management and liquidity, as many have had to close their doors to the public. Entrepreneurs have therefore turned to Valor Group’s expertise to enhance their own crisis response mechanisms and ensure continuity. 

“Once again, the EBRD was in the right place at the right time. They stood with us when we needed development support and now they’re helping us cope with the Covid-19 outbreak, joining their efforts with donors to tackle SMEs’ liquidity issues and provide them with financial support during these difficult times,” says Mr Vasilski.

Valor Group has been successfully cooperating with the EBRD programme for over three years now, in one-on-one consulting projects aimed at expanding the enterprise both at home and abroad. Many entrepreneurs have graduated from Valor Group’s learning programmes and progressed in their career paths as successful financial managers, now well-equipped to deal with the setbacks of any future crises.

 

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