EU ProLocal Achieves Concrete Results: Entrepreneurship in Action in Zenica, Žepče and Gračanica

The results of the European Union and German Government program with focus on strengthening competitiveness of medium and small sized enterprises are becoming noticeable. Thanks to the grants allocated in May 2017, the SMEs have already expanded the product assortment, increased the scope of production and lowered the inherent costs. Further networking is underway as well as the groundwork for presentation on international markets. The first new jobs have been created. Fantasy Unikat in Zenica, Vin-Metal in Žepče and Tursunprom in Gračanica serve as concrete examples of the positive impact of grant assistance.

Fantasy Unikat from Zenica, which specialises in panel and stylish furniture production, will thanks to the investment of grant into modernisation of production capacities reinforce its position on local and make a serious step towards the presentation of its products on the international market, as announced by its Director Senad Merdan.
Merdan recalls that the timing of grant was decisive for maintaining the production continuity: “The panel furniture production was in question due to obsolete equipment. And to pre-empt possible complaints, we even thought of temporarily halting the production.

The new equipment provides for optimum work speed which led to the increase of production scope and the hiring of three new employees.
Vin-Metal from Žepče is already a recognizable partner on the international market, the Austrian and German in particular, notes its owner Marinko Katava. The Žepče diaspora have helped in promotion of the products i.e. metal constructions and furniture. However, it is the quality of products and reliability in delivery that helped the enterprise preserve its position on such a demanding market.

Thanks to the investment of grant into new CNC equipment the enterprise has now strengthened its competitiveness in the local market too, and intends to expand the network of clients. “As for CNC plasma tin cutting we have no competition in the 60 kilometre radius. Furthermore, we no longer have to outsource this service which has a positive impact on the dynamics and scope of production while simultaneously lowering the production costs“, says Katava.

The goal of Tursunprom from Gračanica is to keep up with the latest market trends in the primary and, as much as possible, final wood processing process. This predominantly export-oriented enterprise with around 80 employees currently exports more than half of its assortment to France.
With the new production line procured with the grant, this enterprise is now in a position to increase production by one hundred percent, to decrease the time needed to produce glued wood panels, as well as to create 10 new jobs.

The grants in total value of 3 million euros have been allocated to 57 development projects. The full projects’ implementation by the end of 2017 is expected to result with 464 new jobs, in addition to 200 small farmers to be included into value chains, as well as to increase the sales and export on average by 13% and 16%, respectively.
In order to continue with the economic progress BiH needs enterprises with a clear vision for further development and strengthening of competitiveness in both local and international market. These are the very type of enterprises which the EU ProLocal lends support to in overcoming obstacles in business development through its financial and advisory assistance,” concluded PhD Gligor Stojkov, Grant and Innovation Manager, EU ProLocal programme.

EU ProLocal programme was launched by the European Union and German Government in support of sustainable economic development in BiH.
In focus are the four highest growth potential sectors – metal and wood processing, agribusiness and tourism in 20 partner municipalities. The implementation of this 13 million euro worth programme has been entrusted to the GIZ from 2016-2018.