For 20 days, Marianne Payer, a Swiss system engineer, was working side by side with the managers in Duna Computers. She helped them prepare their company for the challenges of exporting on the European Market. “We are now able to approach European clients and meet their expectations. We are happy to have been able to learn from Marianne’s expertise, someone who has great experience in Europe, and we expect the positive results to come within the next three months”, said Valentina Ivanovska, sales manager in Duna Computers at the end of Marianne’s assignment.
Marianne’s expertise was provided through Swisscontact’s Senior Expert Corps. Founded in 1979, the experts of the Senior Expert Corps provide rapid, hands-on support to small and medium enterprises and institutions in developing countries. They utilize expert skills and knowledge and assist small and medium enterprises and institutions, which otherwise do not have access to this level of professional, affordable practical support.
Since 2014, 30 missions in 35 small and medium enterprises in 8 different industries ranging from IT, Construction, Confectionery, to Tourism and Waste Management have been implemented in Macedonia. The expertise they provided ranged from hotel and restaurant management, marketing and sales, export promotion and improvement of organizational and production processes in the companies. These experts helped develop around 20 new products, trained staff to improve the quality of services they offer and most importantly, helped businesses grow and employ new people.
This year, seven companies coming from the Tourism and Hospitality, Creative Industries and Green Economy sectors will be matched with five experts that will help them improve their businesses.
“We understand the importance of this support and how much companies value it”, said Ambassador Suter when signing the agreement with the Deputy Prime Minister Kocho Angjushev for the implementation of these five missions. “I have learned that as a testament of appreciation for the expertise and the support received, one of the food industry companies has named one of their products by the expert provided through this programme. This is a small token of appreciation that shows just how much their input is important and valued by the companies”, stated Ambassador Suter.
Switzerland supports the engagements of Swiss experts through the Increasing Market Employability project, a project of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), implemented by Swisscontact.