During the coronavirus crisis, some young people in North Macedonia saw the opportunity to start their own businesses or to adapt their existing businesses to the new normal that was imposed by the restrictive measures against the coronavirus.
The stories that were told to Meta.mk by Teona Mango, Goran Bakrevski and Darko Milevski, entrepreneurs from Bitola, are a shining example that there are young people who have dealt with the crisis in a creative and positive manner.
Teona Mango is the founder of “Beyond Green”, an eco-friendly and sustainable brand founded in 2020. The products аre made from ecological and sustainable materials, and the idea behind the brand is to promote an ecological and green way of life, and at the same time to lower waste production and use of products that are polluting the environment.
“I had lived in London until 2020 and when the coronavirus crisis started I returned here and and stayed unanticipatedly for more than a year. During the quarantine, like everybody else, I had too much free time. When I returned here, I noticed the low eco-awareness and that we lack eco-sustainable products and this is how the idea to start an eco-friendly and sustainable brand came to be. The extra time I had, gave me space to research and find out which products and materials are the best and most sustainable,” said Mango, who adds that the coronavirus also changed her shopping habits.
“The people instead of shopping in stores, began shopping online. Also, all of the products I purchased were bought from an e-store,” Mango explains.
Goran Bakrevski works as a dentist, but this profession was among the first that were harshly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that during the first three months of the pandemic he didn’t work at all, so he had enough time to dedicate himself to the production of the BAK beer, which is 100% natural.
“We had had plans for the development of the family brewery before the coronavirus crisis, but then we sped up that work, since we had a lot of spare time. My brother is a music professor, so he was also at home. During that period we actively worked on the beers’ flavors and the improvements of the production technology. The people didn’t go out, they were at home, which turned out to be an excellent opportunity to test the products’ flavors. That is when we gained support from the people in Bitola. The young people during this period were spending more time on the social networks and we did some indirect advertising for our products in that period,” Bakrevski explains.
Darko MIlevski is a former football player and his profession had been dictating his diet. He had lived in Sweden, but he returned to Bitola, where three years ago he opened the “Centar” vegeterian and vegan restaurant. His goal was to educate the young people about the healthy foods, but also to teach them return to the roots i.e. to make the plant foods more present in the diet.
“When the coronavirus crisis started, many difficulties arose and we were under lockdown for almost five months. We survived the 2020 somehow, but in 2021 it was important to continue. We chose to reduce the capacities, but to also ccontinue with full steam ahead. So we rebranded ourselves and we have created the “21/10 Fast&Healthy“, which is a takeaway for fast but healthy food. We started in May, when there were still restrictions. But even during those restrictions we worked, because the only thing we had to care about was the kitchen,” said Milevski.
He pinpoints that the coronavirus crisis enticed them in the right manner to make some changes, since, as he says, we are all pretty static and have learned to operate in the comfort zone, so this crisis has only sped up the efforts. Milevski is happy with the reactions of the people from Bitola and wants to spread his brand in other citiies.
“The young are researching the ways of nutrition and are slowly changing their eating habits,” concluded Milevski.