Event explores ways to build competitiveness and export capacity of high potential sector
Stepping up its support to Macedonian small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has held a workshop on ways to increase competitiveness and build export capacity of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies today.
The half-day event in Skopje brought together representatives of 40 local businesses and three international FMCG consultants and entrepreneurs. The participants discussed best international practice in the industry, market trends and export development strategies.
Dominated by SMEs, the FMCG sector plays an important role in Macedonia’s economy. It accounts for about 21.5 per cent of manufacturing output and, together with agriculture, contributes around 10 per cent to the country’s GDP.
Anca Ioana Ionescu, EBRD Head of Office in Skopje, said: “We see a particularly high potential for future growth and investment in fast-moving consumer goods. Helping them become more competitive and building their export capacity is one of the ways to boost the country’s economy and create jobs.”
Jaromír Levíček, Head of the Economic Section at the Delegation of the European Union to FYR Macedonia, added: “We are aware that companies need finance for their business, but they also need know-how to improve their performance and growth. The EU has set up a special facility with the EBRD that complements the financial instruments established under the Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility. Our objective is to improve the competitiveness of small businesses, the backbone of the economy in the Western Balkans.”
The EBRD is working together with the EU to provide much-needed business advice to SMEs in FYR Macedonia. The Bank connects its clients to local consultants and international advisers who can help transform many businesses with their expertise and experience.
Within a year of a business advisory project, over 70 per cent of companies in FYR Macedonia increase their turnover on average by almost 50 per cent and improve their productivity by over 50 per cent, as they expand their business. More than half of them see significant job creation and over 20 per cent manage to secure external funding to finance their growth.
Since starting work in FYR Macedonia in 1998, the EBRD has helped over 600 enterprises access advice, thanks to funding from the EBRD, the European Union, the Balkan Region Special Fund, the Central European Initiative (CEI), the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the Private Sector Support Facility for the Western Balkans, Luxembourg, Portugal, Norway, Sweden and the Taiwan Business-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund. The Bank’s small business advisory work in FYR Macedonia is currently funded by the European Union, Luxembourg and Sweden, while EBRD investments are financed through the Bank’s own resources.