The European Union and the German Government have supported economic development of local communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina through the EU ProLocal Programme. A total of 20 municipalities throughout BiH, more than 100 companies, development agencies, faculties and other private sector business support service providers have benefited from this Programme.
Achievements and examples of good practices in strengthening of the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises were presented within the conference “Small Businesses – Big Impact”. „The last analysis of the results showed that 57 companies, beneficiaries of the Programme employ over 1200 employees more than before the implementation, while 300 of them work with the equipment that was procured through the grant awards. Compared to 2016, the companies also export 41% more”, said Dr Gligor Stojkov, the Programme Manager.
EU ProLocal especially focused on the long-term impact on the development of the real sector. As highlighted by the Programme Manager, 37 additional business support services are available to companies in the business environment. Hence the adult training programmes have been introduced and formal education has been modernized. New support services for start-ups and existing businesses have been established. Financial support measures for exporters have been introduced.
”The EU ProLocal has shown that efforts of people at the local level can substantively contribute to an improved business environment for small and medium-sized enterprises. However, this should be a joint project. The European Union cannot fill all the gaps, nor can companies themselves carry that burden. Political leaders must work on establishing of a functional market economy, law enforcement and reduction of administrative burden on businesses”, said Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative in BiH.
As a part of today’s event, the exhibition “Private Sector Art” was organized which exhibits some 116 new products and services created as a result of support to the companies to procure new equipment, ramp up their capacities, invest in innovation and enhance quality.
The Programme was worth 13 million euros in total, where the European Union provided nine and the German Government four million, and it was implemented by GIZ.