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EU, GIZ visit beneficiaries of SME-focused grant assistance: New jobs and better market competitiveness

Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to BiH Melvin Asin and Grants and Innovation Manager of EU ProLocal Programme Dr Gligor Stojkov yesterday visited three small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Zenica, Žepče and Gračanica which are beneficiaries of the grant assistance provided through the EU ProLocal Programme. This programme was launched in 2016 by the European Union and German Government aiming to support sustainable economic development in BiH.

Today we saw concrete results of the financial assistance provided by the EU in cooperation with the German Government to the small and medium sized enterprises to preserve and increase their competiveness. Continuous focus on improving businesses, diversification of assortment, increasing production and sales, export orientation and, most importantly, on preserving existing and creating new jobs is in the focus of the EU support to sustainable economic development in BiH ,” said Asin.

The SMEs visited – Fantasy Unikat in Zenica specialized for furniture production, Vin Metal enterprise for metal processing from Žepče and wood processing company Tursunprom in Gračanica – have used their grants to purchase modern equipment which allowed them to increase production, expand client base and employ more people. This ultimately helped them take and secure place in competitive BiH and international markets.

Common to all companies we visited today is a clear vision for further growth and strengthening competitiveness, as well as strong decisiveness to overcome bureaucratic obstacles for business development and create more jobs,” concluded Stojkov.

The EU ProLocal Programme is a part of the larger EU Programme for Local Development and Employment. It is implemented by GIZ, and co-funded by the EU (EUR 9 million) and the German Government (EUR 4 million) aiming to help create over 450 new jobs, introduce 200 small farmers into value chains, and launch 20 innovative actions at the company level.