A credit line of over EUR 74 million will be made available to small and medium enterprises in Serbia in the upcoming period within the EU program for the Competitiveness of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (COSME), and loans to Serbian companies will be enabled through five financial mediators, that is, banks, announced the state secretary at the Ministry of Economy, Branimir Stojanovic.

At the Regional Conference of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) in Belgrade, Stojanovic emphasized the strategic orientation of the Government of Serbia and the competent ministry towards helping the development of entrepreneurship and SMEs. It is this sector that makes up 99% of the total number of companies and employees in Serbia.

– Our main goal is to improve their competitiveness and productivity and to expand their operations and employment. Within the COSME program, five financial mediators are taking part in this program, and over EUR 74 million in loans will be made available to SMEs in Serbia – Stojanovic said.

The vice president of the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia, Nemanja Zugic, presented the results of the Erasmus project for young entrepreneurs, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

Talking about the results of the EEN program, Zugic said that, in the preceding 11 years, 17,000 SMEs had used the program’s services and that 75% of the total number of companies had taken part in various training courses and used advisory services provided by the network’s experts.

In this period, 315 SMEs from Serbia signed business contracts with foreign partners, primarily from the sectors of agriculture, food industry, ICT, textile, metal and wood industries.

So far, 15 institutions from Serbia have withdrawn funds within this program, in the total amount of EUR 2.2 million (EUR 2,223,963).

The EEN is a project carried out within the COSME program, which Serbia joined in 2015.

The total budget of the COSME program is EUR 2.3 billion for the period between 2014 and 2020 and it is directed at supporting and promoting entrepreneurship.