More than 300,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operate in Serbia. These companies employ two-thirds of all workers, contribute more than 60% of added value, and account for 25% of all exports.
Although Serbia has recorded impressive economic growth over the past decade, it has mainly been driven by foreign direct investment and the information technology sector and has required active government support. Serbian industry has also seen the rapid growth of SMEs that are close to reaching critical mass, especially in the Agriculture & Food & Equipment & Machinery sectors. At the same time, SMEs are facing a variety of challenges, such as a volatile and unsuitable business environment, lack and underutilization of finance, poor access to markets, workforce issues, and climate change.
In the years ahead, many of these SMEs will become drivers of growth and development for the local economy, and to do so they will need support from the entire market and institutional framework. Big Small Businesses is active in working with its partners to enable an environment for co-creation of new digital, green, and creative solutions. These activities will help companies enter new and valuable markets and increase their exports, investment, and innovation. They will develop an industry that creates opportunities for underdeveloped regions of Serbia,* and particularly for youth and women. Together we help our companies grow to become small, yet big businesses!
(*Local authorities belonging to groups 3, 4, and 5 according to the Serbian Government Order on categorization of regions and local authorities by level of development.)
Big Small Businesses is a five-year activity (2022-2027) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented in partnership with ACDI/VOCA, J.E. Austin Associates, Center for Advanced Economic Studies (CEVES), and the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation.