With a total of USD 100,000, the Kingdom of Norway supported ten agriculture entrepreneurs in the Toplica district to increase their capacities in sustainability and competitiveness on the market, as well as youth employment. These ten young farmers were promoted today in Prokuplje at the presentation of the results of the project "Support to youth employment in the fruit and vegetable sector in Toplica district", implemented by the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation together with four municipalities of Toplica district - Prokuplje, Blace, Žitorađa, Kuršumlija, and funded by the Kingdom of Norway through the project "Norway for you - Serbia" implemented by UNOPS in Serbia.
“Through the project "Norway for you - Serbia", the Kingdom of Norway supported the implementation of seven projects of business support organizations in order to contribute to the improvement of the business environment by strengthening the sustainability and competitiveness of local business and youth employment. Support to the food processing sector in Toplica is highly important for the development of this area, especially because it contributes to the creation of new jobs. Small and medium-sized processors received the necessary equipment, certification and other necessary support, and thus improved their business and increased economic activities," the “Norway for You - Serbia” Project Associate Aleksandra Radivojević said.
Each of these ten companies received USD 5,000 in financial assistance to purchase equipment needed to improve production, and in addition, employees underwent advanced business training for business planning, the introduction of the HACCP system, and digital marketing and sales. They were also provided with the support of experts for the improvement of production technology and online sales, as well as a joint online promotional campaign.
"Through this project, we have employed ten people under the age of 30 from the Toplica district, and another 40 young people have successfully gone through business training and career counseling. We are continuing our long-term efforts to employ as many young people as possible and to prepare them to be ready to enter the labor market in order to cope better and secure a better future," the Director of the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation Ana Koeshall said.