Private Briefing September 2023

No. 126 | Year XI


The analyses of support programmes for MSMEs and farmers in September Private Briefing edition for 2023, just as in the previous ten years, come with general focus on the successful year end. Accordingly, this edition brings the analysis of the Provincial Secretariate program for  improvements through grants for manufacturing companies, and SDA mentoring support for youth and women-led businesses. The new call of the Raising Starts allows innovators to turn their ideas into sustainable businesses through a “blended” approach to knowledge and finance, and finally, we analyse  subsidies to farmers aimed at raising the competitiveness of livestock farming

// The Science and Technology Park of Serbia has announced a new public call for a Raising Starts start-up programme, within the Technopark Serbia 2 – Encouraging Exports Through the Development of Technology Parks Project, implemented with the support of the Government of Switzerland. The goal of the programme is to create an environment that allows start-up founders to focus on validating their innovative idea in the market, and to develop it to the level of an innovative product or service. The provided support includes both advisory and financial aspect, providing accelerated progress in the earliest stages, and developing the potential for global success in the future. The programme is implemented in partnership with the Niš Science and Technology Park and the Čačak Science and Technology Park, so accordingly, a public call is announced for 3 regions. Eligible applicants are start-up teams of at least 2 members, and locally owned micro businesses established as limited liability companies, not older than 2 years. In addition to supporting start-ups, the program also encourages gender equality and the participation of women as start-ups co-founders.

// Raising Starts provides a series of trainings and mentoring sessions adapted to the specific needs of start-ups, as well as the financial support for the development of a prototype or the MVP which can be tested in the market. The support is designed in two phases, in the first of which participants will work on developing their business idea and attend various trainings in the field of business development. In a period of one month, they are expected to confirm the feasibility of the business idea using the “Lean Start-up” methodology, and at the end of the first phase, participants who meet the criteria will present their idea at the Demo Day in front of an expert jury. Selected teams and companies will then have the opportunity to participate in phase 2, which includes more advanced workshops focused on the development of innovative products and services, business sustainability and access to investments, with the support of mentors. Participants will also receive financial support in the amount of up to 15.000 Swiss Francs for the development of innovative software, or up to 20.000 for the development of innovative products.

//  Raising Starts is a great opportunity for innovative start-up ideas and businesses as it gives them the chance to receive support including training, workshops and financial grant in the earliest stages of idea development. Combined, can provide crucial support and significant incentive to transform the idea into an innovative product or service. In order to secure such support and achieve the intended results, the idea needs to be presented in convincing way and supported by concrete indicators testifying to the implementation capacity and the market and innovative potential within the framework of application forms and documents. The
program lasts 8 months and allows founders to become part of the STP community and start-up ecosystem, connecting with other founders in the network.

Provincial Secretariate: Significant Grants for New Production Equipment

// The series of analyses of programmes organized by the Government, i.e., the Ministry of Economy, continues with the public call for grants to support businesses for the purchase of new equipment in AP Vojvodina in 2023, implemented through the Provincial Secretariat for Regional Development, Interregional Cooperation and Local self-government. The purpose of the call is the purchase of new equipment for introducing new and improving the existing production process or for increasing production volume. The net purchase value of the equipment cannot be lower than 4 million dinars without VAT and related acquisition and commissioning costs. The programme aims to increase the competitiveness and capacity of beneficiaries, through grants for MSMEs headquartered in the territory of the province. Eligible equipment includes machines for production and processing, directly involved in the process of production of tradable goods. Also, the acceptable costs list extends to acquisition of equipment for quality control and measuring equipment, as well as equipment for the production of construction products.

The call encompasses 2 components, where the first is the procurement of new equipment for all companies that meet the eligibility criteria, while component 2 includes the procurement of new equipment for beneficiaries who are potential or existing local suppliers of multinational companies. The equipment must be new, and the total budget of the program is 500 million dinars, 300 million of which is allocated to Component 1, and the rest to Component 2. As a result of support implemented through Component 2, the equipment is expected to significantly increase the international competitiveness of the applicant and enable him to enter the multinationals’

supplier chains, implying that the equipment is used for establishing or expanding commercial engagement with a multinational. The commercial arrangement also includes the production of components and packaging for the final product. In addition, the commercial arrangement includes the provision of production services included in the final price of the product unit. That means that they represent an integral cost in the total value of the product and that they are necessary in the process of manufacturing the product, as well as in marketing it, either as the beneficiaries’ brand or a “white label” sold through a multinational or its suppliers.

Grant amount limits range from 2 to 10 million dinars for Component 1, or up to 12 million for Component 2, and in both cases the maximum amount of allocated funds cannot exceed 50% of the net value of the equipment. The applicant is expected to provide participation of at least 25% of the justified costs from his own funds or from other sources nor originating from the state aid for the finalization of the investment project. The beneficiaries are also expected to provide a bank guarantee in the amount of the grant upon obtaining, and after the field control of the Secretariat, to conclude a pledge agreement on the equipment, after which the Secretariat will return the guarantee.

// With the development of technology and the tightening competition on the local and external markets, the issue of improving the productivity and efficiency of production equipment is becoming increasingly visible. Neither the domestic market, nor the foreign one, tolerate products of uneven quality, while the production price of the product, which directly depends on the capacity, efficiency and reliability of the equipment, can create a gap between successful and unsuccessful business. In addition, this call very clearly enables improvements aimed at entering the supplier chains of multinationals, which is one of the aspects of business that is increasingly becoming the goal of domestic businesses, who have recognized the trend of “nearsourcing” and strive to build a basis for new cycles of growth and development. Investments in modern production equipment are, bearing all this in mind, inevitable, and this program enables practically halving the procurement cost, which is a very significant incentive. At the same time, although the guarantee for the grant is not a very common requirement, it is a temporary cost and a step whose duration is foreseen only until the equipment is put into operation, which is certainly not a critical or unbearable obstacle for MSMEs in the production sector. Therefore, this competition deserves every recommendation.

SDA: Standardized Service Package for Women and Youth Entrepreneurship

// The Development Agency of Serbia has announced a new call for the implementation of service package for young and female entrepreneurs within the Standardized Service Set Programme for MSMEs and entrepreneurs in 2023. The programme is carried out through accredited regional development agencies (ARRAs), and eligible beneficiaries are entrepreneurs and MSMEs not older than five years, with a woman as the founder and legal representative or private individual up to 35 years of age. In cases of multiple owners, a woman or a young entrepreneur must be one of the legal representatives with a share above 51%. Through this programme, with 24 million dinars budgeted this year, applicants can expect financial support in the form of grants up to 130.000 dinars for young entrepreneurs and 150.000 dinars for women-led businesses. The purpose of the funding is payment for standardized advisory services package, one or more specialized training sessions, and up to 40 hours of mentoring services.

The set of advisory services includes consulting and support for preparing necessary documents and assistance in developing a business plan for obtaining subsidies or loans, support in developing business ideas, technical support, and assistance in business development. The programme budget allocates 2.500 dinars per hour of support, while the training sessions provided by the accredited regional development agencies for existing and potential MSMEs encompass modules categorized as mandatory and optional. Each ARRA is supposed to conduct a 2-day “Beginner Business Training” module, and depending on beneficiaries’ needs, there is the possibility of organising one-day training sessions on various topics related to business plan preparation, banking operations, financial management, exports, marketing and

sales, e-commerce, Information technologies, innovation, quality standards, environmental protection, as well as for the preparation for the EU market and participation in public procurement.
As the final segment in the envisaged services set, the mentoring process is a comprehensive and relatively lengthy supporting process for business entities at a critical moment of their development. This model involves collaborative work between a mentor and a business, to overcome current situation and find the most favourable solutions for future operations. Through this approach, the final beneficiary receives consistent, time-distributed continuous support in achieving results. Depending on final beneficiaries’ needs and circumstances, they can obtain between 25 and 50 hours of mentoring.

// Promoting the youth and women entrepreneurship development has numerous benefits and positive effects, both for the entire society and for the beneficiaries themselves. With the provision of adequate advisory and mentoring services, young and women entrepreneurs can launch new business ventures, contributing to economic growth and increased employment. From the perspective of the final beneficiaries creating new businesses and ventures, high-quality support from experienced advisors, following best practices aimed at addressing common challenges in early development, is often the missing element that distinguishes good business ideas from successful business ventures. The ability to plan and manage operations, covering various segments from business model development to financial management, expanding to other markets, and meeting required standards, represents a significant support package that strengthens the capacity and resilience of entrepreneurs and businesses from the very beginning, opening up prospects for development. Therefore, the support provided by regional development agencies through the standardized service set programme, in development of which Glenfield has also participated, through the transformation of best practices and experience gained through working with financial and development institutions and MSMEs into a comprehensive tool set, accompanied by training and trainer certification for implementation, can be an additional ingredient in the formula for success and certainly deserves support.

DAP: Incentives for Livestock Production Equipment

// The Directorate for Agrarian Payments of the Ministry of Agriculture has launched a Public Call for requests for subsidies in physical assets of agricultural households for the purchase of new machinery and equipment for the improvement of primary livestock production in 2023.

Eligible investments include the purchase of machinery and equipment for the preparation, distribution and storage of concentrated and bulk feed, for the handling and distribution of solid, semi-liquid and liquid manure, for the protection of animal welfare and for weighing, controlling and restraining animals. In addition, the call refers to incentives for the production of table eggs, for beekeeping, for milking and for the breeding of poultry.

Eligible applicants include individual agricultural householders, entrepreneurs, business entities, agricultural cooperatives, as well as other non-profit organizations such as monasteries, churches, and research centres. The incentives can be allocated to the investments with a total value of at least 80.000 dinars, or 50.000 for beekeeping, while the maximum total amount of incentives per user in one calendar year is 800.000 dinars.

// Support for the agriculture, including the livestock sector, is strategically recognized as one of the priorities for several reasons. Apart from providing a significant number of jobs in rural areas and other sectors such as transportation and food processing, livestock farming is a highly competitive industry with substantial trade volume. All of these elements contribute to the economic development of both rural areas and the overall economy. Agriculture has deep roots and tradition in our economy, representing a significant foundation for overall development. The recognition of that is reflected in various support programs, ranging from substantial incentives through IPARD or the Competitive Agriculture Project to programs like this one, with more modest scope and reach. On the other hand, this is a regular annual program of subsidies for enhancing basic livestock capacities, which allows improvement planning and gradual strengthening of resources, often with funds below the minimum required by more extensive programs. Moreover, this call covers a wide range of purposes, each of which serves to strengthen the basic production resources, with equipment being a key component. Taking all of this into consideration, this call has a significant overall effect on enhancing competitiveness and strengthening the foundation of essential assets. Furthermore, once these improvements are implemented, they enable easier further upgrades through more specific programs. Therefore, this call certainly deserves recommendation.

1Annual inflation11.50%
2Reference interest rate6.50%
3Unemployment rate10.10%
4Average net salary - RSD83,781
5Average pension - RSD37,786
6Exchange rate RSD/EUR
On the last day of the month117.2106
Average exchange rate for the month117.2140
7Exchange rate RSD/USD
On the last day of the month107.3455
Average exchange rate for the month107.4264

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