Smart kolektiv, supported by the Kingdom of Norway through the "Norway for you - Serbia" project, and in partnership with the Responsible Business Forum and the association ProAktiv, has organized an event devoted to the role and cooperation of the private sector in sustainable socio-economic development of local communities. The business event, organized as part of the Programme for Supporting Sustainable Micro and Small Enterprises in Underdeveloped Areas, brought together 40 participants from the private sector and organizations that support the development of MSMEs.
"Events of this type are of great importance because they facilitate the exchange of information on current support programmes intended for micro and small-sized enterprises in Serbia, not only for representatives of companies, but also for all of us who are implementing community development programs. The event in Nis is especially important because it is a unique opportunity for small-sized and micro companies to connect with representatives of big companies which can be their potential partners, customers, suppliers, or simply support in further business development," said Neven Marinovic, Smart kolektiv Executive Director.
The support programme is implemented as part of the "Norway for you - Serbia" project, which aims to contribute to balanced socio-economic development in Serbia by increasing employment opportunities, in particular for vulnerable and marginalised groups, supporting social cohesion and improvement of local infrastructure.
"Under this project, support was provided to ten micro and small enterprises, as well as to a certain number of their suppliers. The selected companies have been recognized as those that operate responsibly in their communities, employ members of vulnerable population groups, and we anticipate that ten new jobs will be created through the support," said "Norway for you - Serbia" project associate Aleksandra Radivojevic.
During the event, the Smart kolektiv Executive Director presented the participants in the Programme which financially and professionally supported the following micro and small-sized enterprises from underdeveloped municipalities in Serbia: Agro prima jug, Avlija održivog razvoja [Sustainable Development Farm], Chrono, Darovi Lužnice [Gifts of Lužnica], DAST - NF, Inak, Carpe Diem Dairy, Radanska ruža [Rose of Radan], Mačkov podrum Winery and Vrtlari [Gardeners]. Recognized as champions of sustainability in their communities, these companies make a significant contribution to the development of local communities through the employment of hard-to-employ population categories and the inclusion of small local producers and agricultural holdings in their supply chain. These 10 companies employ 145 people, more than half of whom belong to vulnerable categories of the population. In addition, these companies include 585 other micro enterprises and small farms through their chain, thus further exerting impact on the incomes of over 700 families. That is why it is very important that in cooperation with the "Norway for you - Serbia" project, supported by the Kingdom of Norway, they receive professional and financial support, as well as the opportunity to network with the business sector and other support programmes.
Programme for Supporting Sustainable Micro and Small Enterprises in Underdeveloped Areas is a programme of professional and financial support to micro and small-sized enterprises that operate responsibly and positively contribute to the development of their local communities. The programme is implemented by Smart kolektiv, in partnership with the association ProAktiv from Nis and the Association Putevima preduzetništva [Pathways of Entrepreneurship] from Novi Sad. The program is implemented as part of the project „Norway for You - Serbia” which is funded by the Kingdom of Norway and implemented by UNOPS.