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30. June 2015.

Bujanovac, Presevo, Medvedja – As part of the “European PROGRES“ development program activities, which are aimed at supporting gender equality and economic empowerment of women through the creation of new jobs,  a public call for awarding grants for staring up business owned and run by women was announced. The European Union and the Government of Switzerland allocated a total of 400, 000 euros to support 40 projects. The public call will be open until July 24, 2015.

Eligible to apply are unemployed women, who were at the time of publication of the call registered at the National Employment Office for at least three consecutive months, who have permanent residence and plan to start a business in one of the 34 municipalities or cities in the southeast and southwest Serbia, which are involved in the implementation of the European PROGRESS program.  

“The women, the proposals of which will be selected by the commission, are expected to launch and run their own businesses, which will, hopefully, be successful even after the completion of the project", said Dragan Mladenovic, the Head of the Sector for Good Governance and Social Inclusion within the European PROGRESS program.

“The program will support the businesses in the fields of manufacturing and providing services, while all the projects will be selected in a transparent and competitive manner. The projects will be selected based on their relevance, the expected outcomes and sustainability after their completion.  The maximum amount of funds that may be granted per project is 10, 000 euros, while the lowest one is 1, 500 eurosThe undertaking of the activities within each selected project will last no longer than 12 months, starting from the date of signing the agreement, whereas all the activities must be undertaken not later than October 1, 2016.

The European PROGRESS program won’t award cash grants, but will, with the approved amount of cash, purchase the machinery, the equipment and other durable goods needed for starting a business. Upon the final approval of the project proposal, and prior to the procurement and delivery of the required equipment, machinery and durable goods, future entrepreneurs shall launch the registration process with the Agency for Business Registers. The cost of registration and contributions is to be born by the entrepreneurs themselves.  

“The projects supporting women's entrepreneurship are aimed at providing unemployed women the opportunity to change their lives and those of their families for the better, thus becoming a positive example to other women in their communities, "said Ana Nedeljkovic, the Associate for Good Governance and Gender Equality within the European PROGRESS program.

For the purpose of providing more information on requirements of the public call, the European PROGRESS program, in the period from March 26 to April 8, 2015, held seven information sessions in the southeast and southwest Serbia.   Also, the program held in May nine training courses in preparing business plans for all interested candidates, with the aim of preparing them for submitting projects proposals within the public call.

More information on the call, as well as detailed documentation for applying, is available on the website of the European PROGRESS program .

Source: European Progress and Coordination Body