One hundred and six (106) entrepreneurs and micro and small-sized enterprises from South East and South West Serbia will improve their production and open new jobs with the support from the European Union which allocated €2,156,379 through the EU PRO development programme for the procurement of new equipment with the aim to boost competitiveness of the local economy.

Entrepreneurs, micro and small-sized enterprises engaged in the production of food, furniture, textile and clothes, metal and wood processing, information technologies and other types of business will receive new equipment which will contribute to higher output, value chain of local suppliers, improvement of quality and product range, and most importantly to opening of new jobs.

“Through the EU PRO programme the EU supports the Government of Serbia in its efforts to improve the business environment, competitiveness of our companies and employment in underdeveloped parts of Serbia. These funds will contribute to improving productivity of the enterprises and the quality of their products as well as the employment, thus confirming the benefits of the European integration process,” said Jadranka Joksimovic Minister of European Integration.

“The European Union supports small and medium sized businesses that represent nearly 90 percent of companies in Serbia, as well as in the EU; SMEs have a leading role in generating economic growth and creating new job opportunities. Through accession reforms, supported by IPA grants, we continuously support good business ideas, helping Serbian companies to develop their potential for further growth and job creation,” Ambassador Sem Fabrizi, Head of the Delegation to Serbia, said.

As expected, with this new equipment, awarded enterprises will employ 255 people in the first year, which is an increase of 25 percent when compared to the current number of employees. Additionally, the annual export of these enterprises will increase significantly by €2 million in the first year and €6 million in the course of three years. As foreseen by the public call, the enterprises will participate financially in the procurement of equipment with €1,120,472.

“The social impact these enterprises will have in their local communities is also important since they will implement corporate social responsibility activities aimed to help the vulnerable, children, as well as to provide support to sport organizations and cultural manifestations or environment protection,“ Olivera Kostić, EU PRO national programme manager said.

Within the Public Call for Proposals for Procurement of Equipment and Provision of Services for Entrepreneurs, Micro and Small Enterprises, EU PRO organised 14 info sessions that gathered 650 participants. Within the call, 468 applications were submitted. Total of 215 projects proposals were recommended for the second phase, and 191 of these submitted the full project proposals. After administrative and technical assessment as well as the field visits, a total of 106 projects have been approved for funding based on the expected results and effects, sustainability, social impact and expenditures. The list of approved projects is available here at the EU PRO website.

The activities of the EU PRO program that contributes to a more even social and economic development of Serbia are supported by the EU with more than €25 million. The programme aims to contribute to increasing the competition among micro and small-sized enterprises, to improving the business environment and social cohesion in 99 units of local self-government in two regions: Sumadija and West Serbia and South and East Serbia. Activities in the field are carried out by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).