Helping small businesses taste “sweet success”

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Through the EBRD's Enterprise Growth Programme (EGP) a Serbian bakery is able to focus on key success factors such as business planning, providing control over long-term financial and operational goals.

Baking cakes had always been Zorica Selakovic’s passion and being a resourceful woman she decided to turn her passion into a business. She set up a bakery in the centre of Cacak in Serbia in the early 90s. Her homemade products quickly gained popularity and her celebration cakes became well-known for quality and creativity under the SZUR brand.

After more than 15 years of business activity, constant growth and 35 employees, Zorica hadn’t planned what came next. Following a family separation, she had to split the business assets which resulted in the loss of production facilities. She could only retain a few basic machines but Zorica was not the type of person to be easily discouraged. With her two daughters she bought new premises and started rebuilding her business almost from scratch.

Planning and controlling

During these challenging times, the helping hand of the Enterprise Growth Programme (EGP – previously known as TAM) in Serbia, funded by the European Union, was very welcome as it provides entrepreneurs with management support. The EGP helped Zorica to focus on key success factors, such as a coherent business plan that would provide control over long-term financial and operational goals.

Product recipes were optimised to maintain quality and taste while at the same time lowering production costs; and pricing was reviewed to ensure better profit margins. Cash flow started to be analysed regularly and cash business was prioritised. As a result of these improvements a new sales outlet was opened in Belgrade to serve the customers of the city centre.

Award-winning business

As several awards testify, business is thriving again. In 2011 at the European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) summit, Zorica was chosen as the best entrepreneur from Serbia. Zorica and her team certainly deserve a celebration cake and to continue to taste “sweet success”.

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