BELGRADE – Ivan Bildi is an example of a young and successful man who came back to Serbia, successfully launched a business here, and honestly and boldly set off towards his great goals. Two words – honesty and boldness, are the basic characteristics which follow him through life.
With the story of his life, which he shares with the readers of the Home of the Good News, Bildi is an illustration of what most people want to achieve in life. On his 28th birthday, which happens to be today, he already has his own company, he unselfishly shares his knowledge with others, he has his philanthropic and also profitable aims.
Bildi is currently involved in on-line advertising and designing applications for mobile phones with his colleagues, in particular I-phones. His past work includes being the director of operations and one of the founders of the London-based London School of Commerce, and he is also planning to enroll in the pilots’ academy in Vršac and realize a boyhood dream. Although he has set off on a different route, this young man does not forgo his dreams easily!!!
How did It All Start?
Everything began with Bildi’s departure to London to attend the London School of Commerce. Together with a friend he was one of the first and youngest students from Serbia. Thanks to his good work, he soon began working for the school and recruiting students from Serbia. During a drive to expand the school globally, thanks to Bildi’s presentation of Serbia the school’s owner sought to open an branch in Serbia. It was 2008, and Serbia was in a period of progress. The Belgrade-based London School of Commerce thus became the only school in Europe outside Britain, and Bildi became director of operations. He was directly linked to London and controlled all the affairs of the school, which was opened in mid-September 2009. Besides its main campus in London, the school has 52 offices in all the major countries and campuses in Australia, Kuala Lumpur and Dhaka.
Bildi came to the school after completing studies of commerce and banking at Belgrade’s BK University. He went to London to complete MBA studies. While he was still at BK University, meeting people with similar affinities, he came to love business. He left for London during the summer after he graduated from BK, in what was one of his greatest turning points in life which would decide the rest of his life. The owner of the private faculty at which Bildi enrolled in London originated from Sri Lanka, having grown up in poverty, and his basic idea was to bring a British education at favourable prices nearer to people who could not afford it, one of his choices being Serbia.
“In the first year we enrolled 200 students, far more than all the others who are offering the MBA (Master of Business Administration) programme in Serbia. Our prices we somewhat lower, and our product was far better. What I regard as my achievement was that all the students had originally planned to leave Serbia, but we managed to convince a certain number to remain here”, says Bildi, adding that traditional studies with groups of students has began at the school only recently. The first generations is currently attending their second year, Bildi says.
Asked if he was sorry that he had returned, he answers briefly: “There’s nothing wrong here”.
“Maybe I would have a bit more money in Britain, that is evident, but I am not short of money here, either. It is possible to make money in Serbia and live here in a regular manner”, ha adds.
It Would be a Multiple Benefit to Serbia if Young People were to Return
“If you choose to do something and do it well, it has to succeed. There’s a major chance of success - the only problem is that you have no-one to learn from, because Serbia’s entire business milieu is quite weak. It would be a multiple benefit for Serbia if our young people were to return, because they could apply here the knowledge acquired outside. Only, the people who are returning have to be a little bit more enterprising “, he says.
“It is possible to achieve success here. The conditions are perhaps a little different from those on the world market, but you need to be determined, honest with yourself, know what you want and have the necessary courage to do it. No matter how long someone tries to teach you to swim theoretically, until you jump into the water you cannot learn it. We are entering a new epoch of learning, where if you don’t know something you will not be able to survive. It is necessary for you to know to do something, to make something. That will be able to keep you afloat, as well as linking up with people, surrounding yourself with people who suit you, but who think differently,” Bildi says.
He adds that it is important not to blame others for any lack of success. “Others are never to blame for your mistakes. Even if you get hit by a car. Why weren’t you careful? You were there and whatever the situation was like, you bear part of the responsibility”, he says.
Bildi says that in communicating with people on social networks he is trying to explain that the responsibility for one’s failure should not be transferred to the state. There is no great wisdom in it: if you are unsuccessful in your country, you will be unsuccessful outside. If you are successful here, you will be a little more successful outside. Serbia’s problem, he says, is that it has not been modernised, that its technology is on an extremely low level, and the misguided belief that “we are all expecting the state to give us something”.
“If most of those who have gone were to return, it would certainly be better for the country, they would bring some money with them, and also connections and contacts they realised overseas, as well as an ‘outlook’ on doing business”, Bildi says, adding that a successful example was Israel, which conceived a programme for repatriating Israelis dispersed throughout the world. “The programme exists, I know. It treats all Jews outside Israel as refugees and has managed to return many of them to the mother country. One just needs to knock on the door and ask for it, there’s no great philosophy in it”, he says. He admits that our problem is also that we have a many individual objectives, which makes us different from the Israelis, who are distinguished by a collective spirit, and also that their religion played a key role in bringing them together and repatriating them.
A New Job: Internet Advertising and Designing Applications for Mobile Phones
Once he had achieved certain goals in his business, and with his business partner passed through everything, from outfitting the London school to validation of degrees, Bildi decided that it was time to move on.
“I like start-ups, when you build something up from the roots, when you start from zero. The school was in operation, it was making a profit, and in my opinion my mission was completed. I left because I saw no greater goal for me there, it is not just corporate progress, but simply that there was nothing significant for me to achieve there any more. Throughout my education I was interested in new technologies, I actively followed social networks and directed my attention at on-line advertising and designing applications for mobile phones.
“We have already designed an application for the Serbian market. It is an interactive guide through Belgrade (Belgrade Genie) helping every foreigner using the application to tour Belgrade and its most important tourist destinations”.
We have now launched our second application – Zoorchestra, which is directed at the global market and which we expect to be more financially profitable. Its aim is to bring classical music nearer to children aged three to ten. Parents are buyers, and their children users, we have identified that it could of interest in the global market. There are over 500 million applications on the market, and our task was to design something that is different from others”, Bildi says.
The motto of Zoorchestra is ‘Who says that classical music cannot be fun?’ and we are sure it will attract many parents, especially those for whom music is an important part of their lives.
Imagine how an ardent fan of jazz, blues or rock would feel if he found his child dancing to Mylie Cyrus? If there was an application he could use to prevent his, I doubt he would ask how much it cost. Zoorchestra will instill in every two-year-old a love for classical music, teaching him or her the basics of understanding and enjoying music. Given the various options provided by the game, it will also be interesting for older children, Bildi says.
Bildi’s second endeavour is on-line advertising. He is the owner of a company named Marketing online, which is involved in on-line advertising; currently he is focused on content marketing. He says content marketing will be what will sell a certain product or service. He explains the concept on a simple example.
“For example, if you have a veterinarian clinic, you can have a website, a Facebook page, or a Twitter page. You offer your products, but no one is interested because you have 20 other veterinarians offering the same and you cannot have any success, because there are many businesses offering their products and services on-line. The question is why I would buy it from you and not somebody else? Bit if you offer content, for example if you are writing a blog, and explain how to feed my dog and how to tend to him, to me you will become a natural authority and someone who I come to trust as time passes. And I will then come to you because I know that you know what you are doing. If on top of this you post footage on youtube explaining your methods, I will be certain to look for you”, Bildi says about the functioning of the brain of contemporary consumers of products and services.
He points to other numerous advantages of on-line advertising. Not only is it the cheapest compared to other forms of advertising, but in that option you can present your ad exclusively to your target audience. Another advantage is that an entrepreneur can choose an advertising budget and follow results in real time. He is free to change the ad, change the product, or even give up advertising, and have relatively low costs for it. When you pay for banners this does not happen. You pay a certain sum upfront, and that’s that. Bildi advises all who are interested in on-line advertising to choose marketing agencies by checking whether they have large clients. If they do, there’s a high probability that they will devote their attention to large clients, and less to smaller firms, because large customers bring them higher profits.
Bildi also has plans for the future. He says his long-term plan is to engage in consulting services and investments. Convinced by what he has achieved so far, we wish him lots of luck and we believe he will be successful.
Being a Pilot – an Unfulfilled Dream
“When I was small the first word I uttered was ‘pitol’ – pilot. My godfather was a pilot in the then JAT, and from an early age I wanted to be one also. I was left without a father when I was young, and he was a figure alongside whom I grew up. He was a model for me. In order to become a pilot it was necessary to join a air club in the second grade of secondary school, whether flying model aircraft, or other aviation-related activities, so one could get a recommendation for the Pilots Academy in Vršac. However, that was the time of the September 11 WTC attack in 2001, and in the aviation industry many pilots lost their jobs, no one knew anything about the future of the sector. In the circumstances my mother and godfather persuaded me to forgo my plans to become a pilot. My godfather lost his job, he worked in the UAE for some time, and then had to return to JAT. That was the decisive moment for me to turn to my second love / business, Bildi says.
However, Ivan has not relinquished his boyhood dreams. As soon as he finds some time and a good opportunity, he says he will join the academy in Vršac and finally get his pilot’s licence.
Source: Home of the Good News