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Aleksandar Goračinov, Project Director, SME Hub

Encouraging Domestic Producers To Grow And Develop

The project SME HUB is the result of a public-private partnership between the Government of Switzerland, which is represented by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and Serbian company ICT HUB

Our aim is to open the door for small and medium-sized enterprises to become suppliers to multinational companies that operate in Serbia. We believe in the strength of Serbian companies and their ability to provide high-quality products – says SME HUB project director Aleksandar Goračinov.

When it comes to some important projects, which includes SME HUB, so little is known in our country and these projects are insufficiently discussed. Could you please explain what kind of project this is?

– SME HUB represents a unique endeavour to realise significant changes across the Serbian economy as a whole by strengthening one of its basic pillars: the SME sector, in the context of its ability to collaborated with players on the global market and major domestic companies. With a value exceeding seven million Swiss francs, this project will enable the transformation of 80 SMEs over the next five years, while more than 400 local firms will be familiarised with the benefits of cooperating with multinationals and large domestic companies, while many will become their suppliers. This form of cooperation will enable domestic producers to become more competitive and advance their operations, with which improved working conditions will be secured for at least 5,300 existing and new workers.

What do domestic manufacturing enterprises gain by joining the SME HUB?

– On the basis of the needs of multinationals and large domestic companies, SME HUB carries out the selection of potential suppliers and provides support in establishing cooperation. On the other hand, through the medium of this project, small and medium-sized enterprises will have a unique opportunity to utilise their potential and develop further, in order to become competitive on the global market and create an opportunity to expand their business.

With a value exceeding seven million Swiss francs, this project will enable the transformation of 80 SMEs over the next five years

SME HUB will work with Serbian firms that have the capacities, qualities and expertise to supply multinational companies with their products. This means that Serbian manufacturing enterprises will have the opportunity, on the basis of the tangibly defined needs of multinationals or large domestic companies, to apply to participate in the project via the website of the project. And those that meet the conditions for inclusion in the transformation process – through a selection process that uses predefined criteria – will be selected. The transformation of their business will take 24 months at the most, after which these Serbian enterprises will potentially meet the conditions required to become suppliers. Applying SMEs must have production activities that have been running for a minimum of three years, between 15 and 250 employees, and minimum domestic ownership capital of 51 per cent.

You directly stimulate the growth and development of Serbian manufacturing enterprises?

– Through this endeavour, SME HUB is building long-term partnerships that enable exchanges of knowhow, technology and best practices by connecting local enterprises with multinationals, which will result in the modernisation and advancement of business processes. We thereby encourage the growth and development of Serbian manufacturers directly. Through the major contribution of the state and numerous incentives, a positive business climate has been created that is recognised by global giants, and SME HUB will further support their business by finding suitable local suppliers.

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