Republic SME Development Agency and Dutch NGO ‘SPARK’ signed the Memorandum of Understanding today (May 6, 2009) in order to stimulate development of private sector in the Western Balkans.
The CEO of the Republic SME Agency, Goran Džafić, said that the aim of the agreement was forming of the SEE Association of Regional SME Development Agencies, while the agency in Serbia would be the project carrier.
- The final goal is organization of regional expos, cooperation in trade, exchange of goods and services, and creation of the large market of Western Balkans – said Džafić.
He said that the agreement anticipated support from scientific institutions and introduction of youth entrepreneurship in master programmes, which would make it possible for young people to become better entrepreneurs and the owners of small and mid-sized enterprises.
The Ambassador of Netherlands to Serbia, Ron van Dartel, said that small and mid-sized enterprises represented important factor of the country’s economic development and the employment rate’s growth.
According to his words, Netherlands, which finances this programme, has, so far, invested 15m EUR in the development of private sector in Serbia.
He said that, in addition to support to the rookies in business, the existing enterprises should also be backed at the time of the financial crisis.
The CEO of SPARK, Yannick du Pont, said that that organization was implementing that programme in association with the Serbian agency, as well as that the idea of creation of the regional SME network originated from year 2006.
As he explained, what is necessary is the cooperation between the countries in the region and the exchange of experiences in using of EU and IPA funds, which are important for development of SME.