European Union and EBRD pledge support to small business development in Serbia

By EBRD  Press Office
@ebrd

The European Union (EU) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) today launched the Support to Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Development Programme for Serbia.

The programme is funded by the European Union with a €3.5 million donation and is implemented by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) through its Small Business Support team. In close coordination with the Ministry of Finance and Economy of the Republic of Serbia, over the next 36 months Small Business Support will help more than 240 Serbian enterprises to develop the tools, skills and know-how to innovate, attract finance and future expertise, and become business leaders, increasing the competitiveness and productivity of the Serbian private sector.

The programme is a continuation of Small Business Support’s (formerly known as TAM/BAS) work in Serbia. Since 2001, the Small Business Support team has helped more than 500 Serbian enterprises to grow and become more competitive by helping them access the advisory services of international industry experts and local consultants. From the smallest looking to grow to those going global, Small Business Support works with experts at local and international level, laying the foundations for innovative and sustainable businesses. Since 2001 the EU has funded EBRD Small Business Support in Serbia with €8 million.

“Developing the private sector through support to small and medium-sized enterprises is in the focus of the EU in Serbia.” stated Ambassador Vincent Degert, Head of the EU Delegation in Serbia.

Matteo Patrone, EBRD Director for Serbia, affirmed that "the track record of the EBRD Small Business Support programme in Serbia has been impressive – companies have been able to both increase their turnover as well as to create new jobs. This programme brings tangible benefits for Serbian companies, as it offers direct first-class consultancy services which address the real needs of business owners, helping them to become more competitive both on local and international markets.”

Nina Samardzic, assistant Minister of Finance and Economy of the Republic of Serbia, also addressed the participants, reiterating the Government of Serbia’s commitment to the development of the private sector and welcoming the renewed commitment of the EU and EBRD to support the authorities in their efforts.

Representatives of local businesses, government institutions and the donor community all attended the event, which concluded with an informal reception.

The European Union has, since 2001, allocated some €70 million from its pre-accession funds to develop the small and medium-sized enterprise sector in Serbia (€50 million donations and €20 million in credit lines). Projects included support for policy development, export promotion, tourism promotion, foreign direct investments and turn-around-management at company level. Projects are currently on-going in the area of fostering innovation, competitiveness and research and development.

The EBRD, in addition to providing advisory support to businesses, has invested more than €409 million in Serbian small and medium-sized businesses, both directly and with credit lines channelled through local commercial banks.

 

For more information, kindly contact Ms Milena Blagojevic at the EBRD Resident Office in Belgrade at BlagojeM@ebrd.com or on 0112120642.