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Maria Anselmi

Maria Anselmi, CEO Bisnode Southern Markets: My life lesson was to never give up!

„I was raised as a man manager by men managers and I believed I had to deny my most female side at business and play by men (=business) rules. But with years, accumulated wisdom and experience I got enough confidence to play by my rules and allow myself “being a woman” also at business“ – Maria Anselmi




Bulgarian version


– What are your expectations before CEED Global Conference 2016 and what was your motivation to participate in this event?

– I have been supporting CEED for many years and the first promise that ever realizes is learn and share. “CEED-ers”- as we call them – are open and inclusive, interested at making business and learn faster from others, so do I. We have in common a true passion for business and the understanding that making others grow makes us grow. In the Global conference there are also exceptional speakers and personalities that is most worth come to know and possibly share some ideas with.

– At CEED Global Conference 2016 you will speak about your personal success story. How did it all start? What was your beginning as an entrepreneur?

– Being an entrepreneur is part of my DNA, but it didn’t start that way. My first steps began in linguistics. After a while a realized the environment was too stiff for me. I was eager to develop. To achieve that, I dropped everything and followed my business heart from Rome to Milano. And later to Slovenia where we managed to develop a two digit growth business.  It is a mix of curiosity, passion for the future, “personal” mission:

helping people understand (business) reality better

– What challenges have you successfully overcome that have helped you gain you experience and gave you all the qualities to be a successful entrepreneur today?

– My life lesson was to never give up, to profoundly desire to realise my dreams – even if it takes years to archive them. The path can be rough. But with persistence, great focus and passion, learning to trust and build trust in my team and in my business environment I always reached the goal. In this respect CEED has been a great experience to find and develop the right keys to inspire and learn the trust and openness side of innovative entrepreneurs.

– Is it harder for a woman to go through this path? Do you think there is still too much prejudice about women’s business skills?

– Unfortunately even at this moment business world is still a men’s world. The significance of woman manager is rising, but still didn’t reach the level and benefits men are indulging. So I can frankly say that my path was harder than my colleagues. I was raised as a man manager by men managers and I believed I had to deny my most female side at business and play by men (=business) rules. But with years, accumulated wisdom and experience I got enough confidence to play by my rules and allow myself “being a woman” also at business. It is rhetoric to say that the mix is

the winning recipe

still I have to insist on welcoming the ying yang balance as well as any form of diversity. Only by combining diverse forces we can evolve in a sustainable way.

– Tell us more about your position at Bisnode, about your goals and the strategies you use to accomplish them?

– Bisnode Southern Markets is currently going through transition period. We have acquired 3 companies and become the biggest strategic partner of world largest provider of business information Dun & Bradstreet. As CEO for the Bisnode Southern Markets group I feel I have a great mission to open up vast areas of support for institutions and corporates in our region that can help transform Southern and Eastern Balkans in the way to become a really fast growing region. We can share best practices not only trough Southern Markets but also trough whole Bisnode group – this means trough all 17 markets where we are present. We call this formula

“Better business, better knowledge, better networking”

CEED global conference is a great opportunity for a wider full immersion in experiences made in this territories and the opportunity to get the pulse of where are the Balkans standing today.

– How do you assess risk – when you start new projects, when you consider investments…?

– Bisnode is able to assess risk for all companies, competitors, suppliers, regions and countries in the world. That is our core business. And as an entrepreneur my profession is taking calculated risks. I use the same tools that we have developed for our customers to assess market potential, most potential segments and most perspective partners. I believe that a numeric base is important to give a concrete and sound base to our intuition and experience. I never start a project or go into an investment without a business plan that looks into the future, whenever possible using predictive or descriptive analytics and comparables from other industries.

– What are your observations on the Bulgarian business environment and entrepreneurs?

– I do not have my view yet since I never made business in Bulgaria. I am currently reading the country report by Dun & Bradstreet, which is very comprehensive and includes some interesting insights on the business dynamics “for foreigners” as well as mid-term analysis of country development opportunities. So after this reading and  after listening to success and un-success stories I will be able to come back to you with my impressions.

– What are the mistakes that small enterprises usually do when trying to go global? What would you advise the Bulgarian owners of SMEs in this regard?

– I would say they make 3 mistakes:

  1. They often don’t do the homework – research the market, competition, prices and potential customer’s needs. Sometimes they run into a market only because they have there a customer or a personal connection
  2. They tend to improvise in sales instead of building a sales strategy and carefully evaluate the appropriate channels to ensure that business remains profitable
  3. They do not check compliance standards and regulation. This can expose them to unforeseen fines and unpredicted risks.

– If you have to define the secret of your success…

– We say that the winning formula is “processes + people + passion= business performances”.  Here “Processes” stands for: constant attention to how business is operated, continuous improvement, constant updating of the holistic business model. “People” are crucial to make this happen. We work constantly at keeping engagement high and to create the opportunity for individual to realize their personal growth expectations through our company. “Passion” for business is the result of knowing what you are doing, why and for whom. And being sure that besides the economic results we are accomplishing a mission in the market and it is to bring more transparency.


Bulgarian version