Leskovac Improves Investment Climate
April 17, 2014 - As a result of technical assistance provided by the Project, the partner municipality of Leskovac has been certified as business friendly by the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED). Business Friendly Certification South East Europe (BFC SEE) guarantees a certain level of efficiency and transparency within local administrations, and testifies to the quality of services and information that local governments offer to investors and businesses.
To gain certification, the Project assisted the Leskovac LED Office to: revise the strategic plan for local development, link with businesses to create a Business Advisory Council, develop a system of services for the issuance of construction permits and gather the necessary documentation to demonstrate investment promotion activities. Obtaining this certification will improve the local business environment and the image of the local government, thereby attracting domestic and foreign private sector investments and creating new jobs.
Since 2011, NALED and its partners have expanded the Serbian BFC process to include municipalities in Bosnia, Macedonia and Croatia, calling the initiative BFC South East Europe. The activity represents the first regional project encouraging competition among municipalities for acquiring new investments and strengthening economic relations inside the region.
Factoring Training to Improve Competitiveness of Serbian Businesses
April 15, 2014 - The Project, in cooperation with USAID's Business Enabling Project, held a joint factoring workshop for interested local business from the Novi
Pazar-led Inter-Municipal Cooperation (IMC) Area (encompassing Novi Pazar, Sjenica and Tutin) designed to present factoring and
the business advantages it brings. Factoring is a service which gives businesses
the ability to charge claims for goods sold or services rendered before the payment
As Serbia has a volatile
business climate in which small and medium sized enterprises have a hard time
securing payment for their products or services, factoring is particularly
useful as it allows companies
to increase their liquidity, eases cash flow management and improves credit
ratings. It is particularly useful to companies
engaged in import/export, as well as sales of goods and services on deferred
payment. Representatives of the
factoring agency ‘Jubmes Faktor’ as well as the Societe Generale Serbia Bank spoke at the event. They provided more information about
the function of factoring, last year’s new Factoring Law and answered questions
from attending businesses. Seventeen
participants took part in the workshop, representing various IMC Area
businesses from the denim and footwear sectors, such as Maxers, Bros Jeans, Ceco
factoring Serbian companies can become more competitive, expand their businesses
and increase sales.
Bringing Vocation Education Training in Line with Local Business Needs
April 11, 2014 - Last
week, in partnership with the Sandzak Economic Development Agency (SEDA), the
Project organized two training for pupils and teachers of the Novi Pazar
Vocational Design School to enhance participants’ knowledge in skills needed by
local employers. The first training was attended by twenty-six participants and
was titled "Basic Trends in Contemporary Fashion Design," covering
issues such as: fashion forecasting, market trends in the fashion industry and
well as new trends in textile use.
The second training taught thirty
participants how to design and model textiles in the industry-specific OptiTex
and C-Design programs. These programs enable businesses to complete virtual
designs and develop new clothing models much faster and at lower costs. This
activity is part of a $60,000 Project grant to SEDA for analyzing the
growth potentials of leading sectors in the Sandzak region and providing
workforce development assistance in line with identified sector needs.
Connecting Businesses with Prospective Buyers
April 9, 2014 - As part of efforts to connect
local manufacturers with international shoe producers, the Project sponsored
participation of local companies at the GDS International Trade Fair, in
Germany. In preparation for the fair, a Project expert helped Novi Pazar and
Vranje –led IMC Area footwear companies select the most suitable models and
present them to potential buyers. During the fair, over sixty enquires were
made by interested companies, while large manufacturers requested samples based
on their original shoes.
As a result of contacts made at the fair and the footwear
on display, a London-based company has contacted several shoe manufacturers and requested that the companies produce test
samples of women’s shoes. The UK company is interested in placing an initial order if the provided samples are satisfactory. Several
other companies are interested in touring
and evaluating the production facilities of other footwear companies within the
two IMC Areas. The Project will continue activities aimed at helping Serbian
shoe manufacturers increase exports to the global footwear market, raise
business revenue and generate new jobs.
New Laboratory Equipment Delivered to Subotica Public Health Institute
April 7, 2014 - The Project delivered new laboratory
equipment to the Subotica Public Health Institute that will upgrade the Institute’s
capacity and enable analysis of regional food products. Until now, the Institute’s laboratory was unable to provide proper
food testing to certify that local agricultural products meet strict EU and
Russian market requirements. Farmers and food processors in the region had to travel hours away to conduct proper testing of their crops, thus increasing the costs of analysis for export.
Thanks to the Project, the laboratory now has the equipment
and capacities to test for the presence of pesticides and pollutants in line
with EU and other market regulations. SLDP also helped in training laboratory staff to use this new equipment. The Institute will work closely with farmers and crop protection specialists to familiarize them with the
proper use of crop chemicals and export requirements, enabling increased export
to desired markets. The next step is to certify the new laboratory
services with the Serbian Accreditation Body, and the city of Subotica agreed
to assist the laboratory with this. The fully equipped and accredited laboratory will help farmers and food processors
increase export sales of agricultural and food products from the Subotica-led