Bild’s take on the housing question of its employees
Bild Studio is a digital creative agency with decades of experience in doing business, owing to a team of talented and experienced strategists, managers, designers, and developers. They pride themselves to be curious and passionate about strategy, design, and technology.
Through the current housing program for its employees, realized in cooperation with Erste Bank, Bild Studio showcases its affinity towards creativity and good intention. We sat down with Tarik Zaimović, one of the founders of the Bild Studio, and discuss how they support employees in solving this critical family issue.
During the conversation, we touched upon other topics too, like the values that the company nourishes, its development path, their experience with young people starting their professional careers, the prospects of the Montenegrin IT industry and many more.
Housing insurance for the employees is an unprecedented initiative in the private sector. How did you come up with the idea?
Housing security is one of the essential life challenges for employees, and I believe every responsible company should aim to help in resolving this challenge to the best of their abilities. The purpose of every job should be to ensure the safety and stability of individuals and their families. This idea originated from the company’s foundations, but only now we gained the financial opportunity for its realization.
The goal of this program is to help our employees when they are buying an apartment since we believe that young and creative people need our support. In the first phase, we provided 15 apartments for favorable conditions. In particular, the price per square meter is 270 euros lower than the market price. The apartments are in a good location, of quality construction and from a trusted investor. On average, employees who took part in this program are roughly 29-year-old; something of which I am proud of.
Besides favorable conditions when buying an apartment, the company pays the interest on housing loans for the employee, give the bill of exchange as an added security and relieve employees of fifteen mortgage loan installments while the building is under construction. In this way, employees avoid a burden of rental costs and housing loan rates at the same time. This program allows employees to save between 25,000 and 45,000 euros, depending on the size of the apartment. The obtained savings were due to the exemption from the interest rates, the favorable price we received and owing to payments in advance.
This is the best example of how style, shared goals, and arrangements among the collective can bring benefits to everyone. The purpose of this program is to provide our employees with housing. We hope that in the next year or two, at the latest three, we will begin with the second phase of the housing security program and that at last, this will become a business practice and part of the operating expenses of our company.
Why did Bild Studio choose Erste Bank as a partner in this program?
Before we opted for Erste Bank, we studied its competition in search of the perfect fit for our company. What distinguished Erste Bank from the others was its response time, professionalism, and communication.
Erste Bank is a textbook example of good project management and customer relationship. Should such a trend continue, I believe our cooperation will be a long-term one, and that we will expand it to other fields too.
What is Bild Studio’s vision? What are your values and the most important concerns?
For Bild Studio to become a synonym of a company that sets standards of good practice in business. And to be known as the company which invests in employees, company development, useful knowledge, and technology. It is essential that we are always prepared for change and consider as the responsible firm. The goal is not just to introduce examples of good practice and trends, but to anticipate and create them.
What puts us apart from others is the structure of our agency. The average age of our employees is 28 years. Besides being young, all of them possess the fundamental human virtues like work ethic, principle, loyalty, coexistence, willingness to work and to strive, but also a willingness to change. The great success of our agency and what we are proud of is the unchanged composition of people of crucial importance with us since its inception.
There are many young people in your team. Some are working for a long time, while others are at their beginning, improving their skills.
The new generations have become incredibly impatient, striving to become experienced high-level professionals overnight. In reality, this is unlikely to happen. Young people have problems with focus, work habits, and ethics, accepting suggestions, and criticism. I think the challenge of all companies will be to adapt to such trends.
It is imperative for young people to discover what they are best in because we are all destined to be good at something. One should love their work, as I believe passion is the best drive for success in any sphere of life. It is essential to have faith in yourself and have a dream, not to give up. Being guided by passion, in my opinion, is the only way to be fulfilled in your profession, and life.
How do you perceive the IT scene in Montenegro? Is the size of the market a limiting factor?
The IT scene in our country is at a low level measured against the world’s parameters. There are only a few domestics companies developing software products, of which a large number focuses on the local market instead of placing its focus abroad, which gives more significant opportunities. Technologies applied by many of the IT companies are not in line with trends, such as artificial intelligence, IoT, Augmented Reality, Blockchain, Data mining, hardware platform programming, smart home, cities, etc. There are almost no domestic firms that sell their products on several continents, as is the case with the IT companies from the region. The deficiency of high-quality personnel is something that every country in the world faces. This is not only a problem specific to the IT industry. However, Montenegro has the smallest number of software engineers per capita in the region. There is no organized cooperation between IT companies, although this is necessary and already an established practice in the region and the rest of the world.
There are several limiting factors, but the ICT industry in our country records constant growth in all parameters – profit, income, the number of professionals, average salary. Although demanding, I think this is one of the best industries to work in and we need to explore it further.
It is undeniable that Montenegro is a small market, but regarding ICT you are not dependent on the local market. Instead, your market is international. To enter the global market, you need knowledge, the experience, a copious amount of failures and time.
You are a member of a working group for creating educational programs.
Bearing in mind that there is a deficit of the experts in the information technology field, not only in our country but also in the region, one of the main goals was to create an educational program in line with the needs of the economy and the market, which is in line with the latest technologies and principles.
The educational program for the secondary vocational schools in Montenegro, in the IT field, will be one of the more innovative programs in the region. I am proud I had the privilege to contribute to the creation of educational programs for young people, and I must point out that this project has recently been one of my favorites.
Bild Studio has received many awards for social responsibility.
Bild Studio focuses on socially responsible business, both in the domain of human resources and the community. We are flattered because our work was recognized and awarded several times over the last couple of years.
Bild in three volumes
Setting the foundations
Everything started in high school, 12 or 13 years ago, when we set the foundations of the agency based on friendships, integrity, and trust. The essence of our business stems from this. Our slogan illustrates it the best, “bild.better.together.” I have learned these principles and lived by them during my high school years. Besides being true to these principles, I was fortunate to be surrounded by curious people, who taught me a lot about music, sports, games, profession, upbringing, and adventurous spirit. I owe special gratitude to my dear aunts, with whom I lived while attending high school. These women gave me unreserved support and love, and I am honored to call them my other mothers. With them, I learned the importance of giving, harmony, care, and love.
We worked from our student dorms, with an eagerness, hope and desire to succeed. We invested the first earnings in the necessary equipment. At the insistence of our business partner, we took advantage of the opportunities provided by the Government Project “Business incubator.” In four years, we had subsidized office space, equipment, and electricity. For us, at that moment, it was enormous support. A few of us worked from 14 to 16 hours a day, while often the whole collective spent months in continuous work, including weekends. Some of the first websites we made at that time were the site of the Faculty of Information Technologies, CANU, the companies of Gugi Komerc, the Parliament of Montenegro, the Police Directorate, Cafe del Montenegro. These clients placed us in the Montenegrin market. This period was pleasant, even though we worked a lot, and it was somewhat stressful and financially unstable since we could barely earn our salaries.
Appearing on the foreign market
Appearing on the foreign market marks our third phase, during which we risked the most. It was the first time we got a project beyond the borders of Montenegro. A plan for which we did not have the knowledge, experience, references, or the team that could deliver results. We also raised a loan for purchasing adequate equipment and moving to the new offices. In this process, we were lucky because we met a few people, our partners today, without whom this company would not be where it is now. After this period, the agency had almost linear progress according to many parameters, such as the number of employees, clients, income, profit, investments, and wages. Today’s business would not be imaginable without these foreign clients. Of the company’s total revenue, 70 percent stems from the 30 percent of the jobs we do for the international clients. So far we have realized more than a thousand projects for over 400 clients from almost all industries. We began with the financial sector, small and medium enterprises, government institutions, municipalities, media, faculties, heavy industry, international organizations and corporations, NGOs, and the hospitality sector, even the gaming industry in the fields of software, websites and mobile applications, marketing, design, video production, press, project management, consulting and training. The largest retail chains in Belgium use some of the software we are developing, 60% of Swedish municipalities, leading Swedish universities, young athletes in America, companies like Burger King, McDonald‘s, etc. Regardless of the results achieved, I still cannot say we are a successful company. I think we have only made good foundations. Our business goal is to become a 100 percent export agency operating just in strong economic markets. The strategic goal is to transform the current agency into a group which will own specialized firms and products.