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Meet Natasa

meet natasa czaplewska on ib4sme

My Story

“Since I was a teenager, I had a profound interest for marketing and advertising, while my extrovert personality was continuously leading me into new environments, meeting different people, and taking over various leadership and management roles.

As an excellent student, loving the most diverse subjects, from maths and science, to arts and languages, I decided to take a chance in management and marketing, completing my Bachelor Degree in Economics, complemented by my Master of Science in Management. But that was not enough. With a positive attitude, while working 50 hours a week, I pursued and completed my Doctorate in Business Management with a research in International Business and Strategic Management.

Originally from Koper, Slovenia, I spent most of my professional life in Dubai, UAE. In over 17 years of my professional experience, I have worked in marketing and media agencies, as well as in and for companies from various industries, such as oil & gas, retail, events, home appliances, car rentals, banks, hospitality, and many others.

During my vast experience in marketing and international business, I have been working with business owners and decision-makers through economic recessions, industry-specific crises, and in various departments formation, company restructuring processes and new companies setup.

As a marketing and international business expert, I believe in creating solutions that accelerate SMEs’ sustainable growth. Throughout the years, I have also helped SME business owners and decision-makers with their international business strategies and promotion, and have then decided to focus completely on that. This is the main reason why I decided to open my own business and launch IB4SME.

I know how stressful and difficult it can be to start your own business or go through these challenging times, and I am here to help.

Dr. Natasa Kobal, Owner and Founder

Biography

Dr. Natasa Kobal, Entrepreneur, Marketing and International Business Expert

As a marketing and international business expert, Dr. Natasa Kobal believes in creating solutions that accelerate SMEs’ sustainable growth.

Natasa is the Owner and Founder of IB4SME, a business consulting and training brand that empowers SME owners and decision-makers internationally with the skills and support they need to successfully manage their businesses.

With a PhD in business management, combined with her strong experience in international marketing, Natasa manages all IB4SME business consulting solutions and services.

As a dynamic Marketing & Communications Manager, with over 17 years of diverse industry experience, Natasa has a proven track record in developing effective B2B and B2C fully integrated marketing strategies, which contribute to companies’ competitiveness and ROI.

An outstanding team leader and player, with a creative spirit and analytical approach, Natasa is known for initiating processes restructuring and optimisation that result in increased efficiency, productivity, and firm’s profitability.

Speaking six languages (English, Italian, Spanish, Slovenian, Croatian and Polish) fuels her extrovert character by enabling her to effectively communicate with people from multiple cultures. Her creativity is not only visible through her marketing work, but also in her passion for playing the piano, singing, dancing and painting.

Born and raised in Koper, Slovenia, after working 11 years in Dubai, UAE, since 2020 Natasa is based in Szczecin, Poland.

Since February 2020: Owner and Founder
International Business Consulting Natasa Kobal, Szczecin, Poland (Business Consulting)
Main brand: IB4SME – International Business for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Since January 2022: Marketing Consultant
Centurion Group Ltd. (HQ in Aberdeen, UK), Szczecin, Poland (Oil & Gas, Infrastructure, Power, Environmental and Renewable Energy)

Since October 2019: Marketing and Communications Manager
Specialist Services L.L.C. (HQ in Dubai, UAE), Szczecin, Poland (Oil & Gas, Utility, Petrochemical, Power, Renewables and Defence)

February to October 2019: Group Marketing and Communications Manager
Mohamed Hareb Al Otaiba Group, Dubai, UAE (Transport, Trading and Technology: AVIS UAE Rent a Car, Bosch, XEROX Emirates and other)

October 2013 to February 2019: Marketing and Communications Manager
Specialist Services L.L.C., Dubai, UAE (Oil & Gas)

March to October 2013: Marketing Manager – Middle East
Seatrade Communications Ltd., Dubai, UAE (Events and Maritime Industry)

December 2010 to March 2013: Marketing Manager
Gulf Greetings General Trading L.L.C., Dubai, UAE (Retail – Hallmark and The Toy Store)

January 2009 to December 2010: Account Manager – Marketing and Media Projects
Natvia Studio FZ-LLC, Dubai, UAE (Marketing and Media Agency)

November 2007 to October 2008: Marketing Project Manager
Studio Meditas d. o. o., Koper, Slovenia (Marketing and Media Agency)

January to November 2007: Entrepreneur and Project Manager
Business Consulting Natasa Kobal s. p., Koper, Slovenia (Business Consulting)

PhD in Business Management (2020)
University of Primorska, Faculty of Management, Koper, Slovenia
Awarded Best Doctoral Dissertation Award 2020

Doctoral Dissertation: Cultural Distance, Competitive Advantage and Firm Performance of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the United Arab Emirates / Kulturna razdalja, konkurenčne prednosti in poslovna uspešnost malih in srednje velikih podjetij v Združenih arabskih emiratih (in English)

Master of Science in Management (2009)
University of Primorska, Faculty of Management, Koper, Slovenia

Master Thesis: Identifying the needs for relaxing television programs / Ugotavljanje potreb po sprostitvenih televizijskih programih (in Slovenian)

Bachelor of Economics (2005)
University of Primorska, Faculty of Management, Koper, Slovenia

Sustainable Developments and Innovations in Space. E-Economy. Conference 2022
September 28th to 30th, Szczecin, Poland
Speaker and Participant
Title: Particularities of SME Internationalisation Strategies

Management International Conference – MIC 2022
June 9th to 11th, 2022, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Speaker and Marketing Session Chair
Title: The Role of Marketing in SME Performance in Foreign Markets: Are We Forgetting the Role of Sales?

Management International Conference – MIC 2020
November 12th to 15th, 2020, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Speaker and Session Chair
Title: The Role of Network Ties in SME Internationalisation in the United Arab Emirates

Human Resource Management in the Age of Digital Challenges 2020
September 25th, 2020, Varna, Bulgaria
Title: Local and Expat Workforce in the United Arab Emirates

Implications of Sustainable Development in Spatial Management and E-Economy. E-Economy. E-Geography. 2020
May 13th, 2020, Szczecin, Poland – Online Conference
Title: The Role of Location Advantages and Geographic Distance in SME Internationalization in the United Arab Emirates

Management International Conference – MIC 2018
May 30th to June 2nd, 2018, Bled, Slovenia
Title: SME Internationalisation in the United Arab Emirates

Kobal, Nataša and Czaplewski, Maciej. 2022. The role of Marketing in SME Performance in Foreign Markets: Are We Forgetting the Role of Sales? MIC 2022 Conference Proceedings.

Kobal, Nataša. 2020. The Role of Country Infrastructure in SME Internationalisation in the United Arab Emirates. Infrastructure transformation in the digital age. Szczecin: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Szczecińskiego.

Kobal, Nataša, Roberto Biloslavo and Matevž Rašković. 2018. SME Internationalisation in the UAE: Home-Host Country Characteristics and the Role of Cultural Distance. MIC 2018 Conference Proceedings.

Kobal, Nataša. 2014. How to Increase Brand Exposure and Consumers’ Loyalty through Cause Marketing. Journal of Academic Research in Economics, Vol. 6, No. 3, 2014: 381-397.

Kobal, Nataša. 2009. We love to turn on the TV. Pilot. 31.1.-6.2.2009: 51.

Kobal, Nataša. 2023. Navigating Global Markets: Leveraging Network Ties for SME Success. Corporate Investment Times, No. 62, 2023: 46-50.

Entrepreneurial Venture (2023)
Lecturer for the course Entrepreneurial Venture 2022/2023
Study programme of Social Management (BSc), first level (undergraduate)
School of Advanced Social Studies, Nova Gorica, Slovenia

Foundations of Intercultural Management (2022)
Lecturer for the course Foundations of Intercultural Management 2022/2023
Study programme of Intercultural Management, second level (postgraduate, master students)
School of Advanced Social Studies, Nova Gorica, Slovenia

The Role of Distance in International Business (2022)
Workshop for University Professors and Students
Institute of Spatial Management and Socio-Economic Geography
University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland

SME Internationalisation Strategies in UAE (2022)
Workshop for Postgraduate Students
Course of International Marketing
University of Economics, Varna, Bulgaria

SME Internationalisation Strategies Online and Offline (2022)
Workshop for Postgraduate Students
Course of Contemporary Marketing Strategies in Foreign Markets
University of Economics, Varna, Bulgaria

How to Choose the Right Platform for Your Online Business (2022)
Workshop for Students
Course of Information Technology
University of Economics, Varna, Bulgaria

Particularities of SME Internationalisation Strategies (2022)
Presentation for the Polish Economic Society
Organised by: University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland

SME Internationalisation Strategies Online and Offline (2022)
Workshop for University Professors
Institute of Spatial Management and Socio-Economic Geography
University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland

From Concept to Company Setup (2009)
Workshop for Students
Course of Strategic Management
University of Primorska, Faculty of Management Koper, Slovenia

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