Every year, the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University awards its alums with the Entrepreneur of the Year recognition. This prestigious title goes to “those who best exemplify the ideals of entrepreneurship.”
What do those ideals stand for in practice? It’s all about devotion to innovation, curiosity, resilience, identifying and seizing opportunities – and ultimately, creating them yourself while showing genuine respect and empathy toward others and the community. We are proud that the achievements of our President, Dušan Kosić, and HTEC Group were recognized by the University as the epitome of these principles.
Dušan pointed out the importance of embracing challenges, no matter how tough, with an explorer’s mentality, always considering other people’s needs, feelings, and ideas. It’s precisely this approach that has led him on his path to success – from his first business as a Junior in high school coaching kids basketball all the way to co-founding and growing HTEC Group – a successful global company that now counts over 2000 professionals in more than 20 countries.
Although his journey – personal and professional – has not always been easy, Dušan managed to turn the hardships to his advantage. The road has unexpectedly led him from war-struck Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he was born, “half the way across the globe” – all the way to the United States and St. John’s University.
In Dušan’s opinion, one crucial factor for success was the support he and the other international students got – from the University, staff, and fellow students. It’s that sense of community that helps one overcome the uncertainties, cultural shocks, and challenges to get to know your new environment. Having such a strong pillar behind him gave Dušan the confidence, freedom, and the ability to explore and be authentic and bold. The rest is, as they say, history.
Award winners are alums who have successfully launched and led ventures, seized opportunities, and initiated changes that create value. Dušan has done all of these things in a most impressive way.
– Paul Marsnik
Professor of Entrepreneurship and Global Business Leadership and Director of the CSB/SJU Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship
Fast forward to the present moment, and the core values that formed Dušan as a leader have remained the same. It’s those values that helped him co-found and grow HTEC Group from scratch – turning a local success story that started in Belgrade 15 years ago into a global business, still centered around the ideas of relentless curiosity, of creating equal opportunities for all and growing yourself by growing others – just like Dušan’s mentors have done all those years.
Being in the engineering vertical is a privilege we don’t take lightly, as we get to do what we’re passionate about while contributing to the quality of the global digital landscape. It’s not easy, but once you learn how to turn challenges into your advantage, all doors simply open. And what better way to sum it all up than to use Dušan’s message to all: “When, if not now?” “Who, if not you?”