For the first time this year in Serbia, 17,000 more companies were opened than shut down, stated the director of the Development Agency of Serbia, Zeljko Sertic, on Sunday, December 18, and noted that the fact was the best indication of the results achieved in the Year of Entrepreneurship.
In his interview for the new economics magazine Srpska Ekonomija, Sertic said that around 36,000 entrepreneurial stores and companies had been founded in 2016 and emphasized that the state had set aside the largest amount of funds up till then for the development of that sector, which is the backbone of any developed economy.
A total of 33 support programs have been offered, with RSD 16 billion, of which RSD 4.4 billion as grants. So far, around RSD 10 billion has been approved for businessmen, Sertic specified.
Noting that the Year of Entrepreneurship was the first wide-reaching national campaign focusing on entrepreneurs, micro, small and medium enterprises, Sertic said that more than 13,000 enterprises, beginners in business, local self-governments and clusters had applied for one of the programs, and that over 7,600 requests for various entrepreneurial initiatives had been approved.
Talking about the programs, Sertic gave the example of the startup program for beginners, within which the state had supported 116 entrepreneurial ideas with around RSD 80 million.
There's also the program for the procurement of equipment, thanks to which entrepreneurs have had the opportunity to secure new machine, participating with only 5% in the payment, with the state providing 25% in grants and the remaining 70% being realized through favorable loans at selected banks and leasing houses, where the equipment itself acts as the guarantee.
– This way, we have helped 377 enterprises with RSD 550 million this year, which adds up to a total of RSD 2.7 billion of investments in new equipment and machines – Sertic said.
Asked if the state's help was sufficient for a relaxed initiation in the business, Sertic said that it wasn't, but also pointed out that the government's orientation meant a change of traditional ways of thinking about one's own future and putting a stop to favoring employment in the public administration and public enterprises.
– The adoption of a set of economic laws, cleaning up the Serbian economic yard from the piled up problems from the past, responsible arrangement of the state budget and drawing a large number of investors to our country are clear indicators of an improved business climate – Sertic underlined.
He stated that the Development Agency of Serbia participated with six support programs in the Year of Entrepreneurship, with a total budget of RSD 992 million, of which RSD 950 million as direct financial support to entrepreneurs. He added that more than 90% had been realized.
Sertic says that the programs which had caused great interest in the sector of economy would be stepped up in 2017.