Dec. 4, 2012
Gligor Tashkovich '87 on being an unconventional entrepreneur
A high-energy, entrepreneurial spirit has taken Gligor Tashkovich '87, M.B.A. '91, to some 99 countries and territories. He spoke Nov. 28 about becoming an entrepreneur after graduating from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management in a talk, "The Unconventional Entrepreneur."
While at Cornell, Tashkovich said, he was a part of the team of about 200 people who helped develop the infrastructure of the Internet in the mid-1980s. At the time, networks were separately funded, and institutions like Cornell co-existed on several networks (ARPAnet, CSnet, etc.). Tashkovich said he was one of the people who cataloged node information across networks and helped people from around the world send email across networks.
While studying in the Cornell in Washington program, he worked for the National Science Foundation and later was appointed by the NSF as the U.S. delegate to the Technical Committee of the European Academic and Research Network to help build the Internet across Western Europe.
In his Johnson class of 225, Tashkovich said, only about half the students had jobs at graduation, and the economy forced him to go into entrepreneurial pursuits.
Tashkovich has worked with the World Economic Forum and the Albanian Macedonia Bulgarian Oil (AMBO) Corp., which he co-founded with his late father, Vuko Tashkovich, B.Arch '62.
Tashkovich also discussed his work in bringing the first English-language publications and Western Union Financial Services to the Republic of Macedonia. When doing business with presidents, prime ministers, ministers or ambassadors, Tashkovich said he would always bring a copy of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), an American code of conduct law that prohibits bribery.
"Every meeting I walked into, no matter whom I was meeting ... I put a copy of the FCPA on the table, and I said, 'I just want to let you know before we start this meeting that I have to observe the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. If this is a problem for you, I won't waste your time any further.'" Fortunately, he never had to leave a meeting once the ground rules were made clear.
One of his biggest honors was being invited to serve a term as the minister for foreign investment in the Republic of Macedonia. In this position, he trained a team of young Macedonians from different ethnicities to help him attract foreign investors to their country. By the end of this term, he and his team had traveled to 40 countries and secured new investments totaling approximately $1.5 billion.
At the end of the day, if you are an entrepreneur, it is important to work in a country where enduring respect for the rule of law is maintained, Tashkovich emphasized. "Otherwise, if you run into a local business dispute, you probably will not have it resolved fairly."
Tashkovich's talk was part of the Entrepreneurship Seminar Series; the next day, he was a speaker for the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs Fall 2012 Colloquium Series.
Julian Montijo '15 is a writer intern for the Cornell Chronicle.