180 jobs are created in Serbia thanks to EU-EBRD program for small businesses

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced today that 132 companies in Serbia have improved their business and improved their competitiveness thanks to the “EU for Serbia – EBRD Small Business Councils” program, and that 180 jobs have been created within the program.
As it was announced, 72 companies and 29 consultants underwent training in various business areas, which improved their knowledge and skills.
Through the “Small Business Councils” program, which has been implemented in Serbia since 2019, domestic companies can request consulting services for a wide range of areas, including implementation of quality standards, development of marketing plans, financial analysis, business plan development, introduction of management information system or improving energy efficiency.
The 2.2 million euro program is being implemented by the EBRD in co-operation with the Serbian Ministry of Economy and is funded by the EU.
The costs of the project, in the amount of 50 to 75 percent, were financed by grants provided by the EU.
The program, which is currently entering its final year of implementation, is funded by the European Union’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), and so far 2.2 million euros have been allocated from these funds in co-operation with the Ministry of Economy.
Minister of Economy Andjelka Atanaskovic said that the funds provided from IPA funds, at the proposal of the Ministry of Economy, significantly contributed to greater competitiveness and better business of domestic companies, and that her department will continue to provide new jobs and support businessmen.
The announcement states that 67 percent of the companies recorded an increase in the number of employees one year after the project, while almost 60 percent of the companies registered an increase in income.
It was added that 99 percent of the companies that participated in the projects stated that they would cooperate again with external consultants on improving the business.
Over the past two years, most of the projects have been in the field of digitization and development of information systems or tools to promote online sales.
EBRD Program Manager “Small Business Councils” Aleksandra Miladinovic said strengthening the SME sector is one of the EBRD’s priorities in Serbia.
“Since the establishment of our office in Serbia, we have supported over 1,000 companies. Through this program, the EBRD offers companies access to knowledge and experts who help them improve their business and increase competitiveness in domestic and export markets,” said Miladinovic.
Dejan Shuvakov, manager of the program for assistance to SMEs and innovation in the EU Delegation to Serbia, stated that the EU has so far invested 14 million euros in advisory assistance to Serbian companies, Danas reports.