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15. December 2014.

The European PROGRESS announced a public call for funding projects for providing support to clusters to introduce innovative practices and access the common market.  

Entitled to apply are the clusters registered in the territory of 34 local self-governments from the southeast and southwest Serbia, which are involved in the implementation of the development program. 

The European Union and the Swiss Government, which are the European PROGRESS’ donors, earmarked 200, 000 euros to support the improvement of the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises, the cluster members, through the introduction of new or the improvement of the existing products, market expansion and internationalization of their business operations. The maximum value of an individual project is up to 40, 000 euros, while the clusters must ensure the financial participation of at least ten percent of the total project cost. 

“Limited access to international markets and a lack of innovative products are some of the key obstacles for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in Serbia. I call on the clusters to nominate their project ideas for the innovation and improvement of marketing in small and medium-sized enterprises, while the program will support the best proposals and thereby contribute to increasing their competitiveness”, said Olivera Kostic, the Head of the European Progress’ Department for Improvement of the Competitiveness of Local Self-Governments.

The call makes it possible for clusters to establish partnerships with institutions of higher education and professional associations, which could, owing to their experience and knowledge,  contribute to the accomplishment of the planned project objectives. The process of selecting projects for support will consist of two stages. Based on the concepts of their projects, the pre-selected clusters will, prior to submitting their final applications, be provided with technical support through individual consultations and training. The deadline for submission of applications is March 13, 2015. 

The information sessions, during which details of the call will be presented to the interested clusters, will be held in Novi Pazar, Vranje and Nis from December 16 to 18.  

The application documents and the additional information on the project are available at         

The local self-governments covered by the European PROGRESS program are as follows : Novi Pazar, Ivanjica, Nova Varos, Priboj, Raska, Sjenica and Tutin in the southwest Serbia, as well as Prokuplje, Blace, Zitoradja, Kursumlija, Leskovac, Bojnik, Vlasotince, Lebane, Medvedja,  Crna Trava, Vranje, Bosilegrad, Bujanovac, Vladicin Han, Presevo, Surdulica, Targoviste, Brus, Aleksinac, Gadzin Han, Doljevac, Merosina, Svrljig, Babusnica , Bela Palanka and Knjazevac in the southeast of the country. 

Source: Jugpress and Coordination Body