Ambassador Schmid mentioned that Serbia has attracted a record number of foreign investments in recent years and that Switzerland is among the top six foreign investors in Serbia, with investments exceeding two billion euros and 14,000 employees working in Swiss companies, making it the fourth most significant economic partner in Serbia.
"Small and medium-sized enterprises make up 99% of business entities in Serbia and create 67% of all jobs. They are the backbone of the domestic economy and a driving force in generating income and new jobs. By adopting new and innovative products and work methods, small and medium-sized enterprises can improve their productivity and reduce their environmental footprint. One of the priorities of the Serbian government is to support small and medium-sized enterprises in meeting the high standards set by multinational companies operating in Serbia. Developing local suppliers significantly enhances the benefits of foreign direct investments for the domestic economy. In line with this, support for small and medium-sized enterprises not only strengthens their competitiveness but also contributes to overall economic stability and growth in the country," emphasized Ambassador Schmid.
Switzerland is globally recognized for qualities like "quality" and "punctuality," and these are the very values that SME HUB aims to be known for. "This project will provide high-quality services delivered at the right time to create a positive business environment and further enhance Serbia's reputation as an attractive investment destination," Ambassador Schmid concluded.
Assistant Minister of Economy, Katarina Obradović, stated that the Serbian government and the Ministry of Economy have made significant efforts to improve the business environment and support economic development. "What this project will bring as added value is individual work with companies in terms of connection, networking, and capacity development. This is what has been missing in previous periods, and the Ministry of Economy supports this project because we have the capacity and resources to further develop the Serbian economy together," said the Assistant Minister.
The Director of SME HUB, Aleksandar Goračinov, presented the results of three months of work, during which significant progress was achieved. "We are already facilitating collaboration between multinational companies and local enterprises. Partnerships like Bosch and Uniplast from Čačak, Sika and Marking from Užice, Bambi and Adore from Belgrade demonstrate the significance of our project. The interest in SME HUB from multinational companies and small and medium-sized enterprises has exceeded our expectations," Goračinov emphasized.
According to him, SME HUB is designed as a bridge that connects the public and private sectors, companies and consultants, knowledge, and people, all with the aim of synergistically strengthening the Serbian economy. "We cover a wide range of industries and focus on comprehensive organizational transformation that will provide real added value to small and medium-sized enterprises. We believe in the dedication of Serbian entrepreneurs and the strength of Serbian companies that can deliver high-quality domestic products," concluded Aleksandar Goračinov, the Director of SME HUB."
The SME HUB project is supported by the Swiss Government, represented by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), with CHF 6.2 million, while the total value of the project is over CHF 7 million. It will be implemented for the next five years by ICT HUB.