The production share of Serbian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the business sector, excluding agriculture, is 60 percent (€14 billion revenue); they participate in exports for 40 percent of the total (€6.5 billion revenue) and employ nearly one million people or 45 percent of all workers in the country.
At the conference, organized by the Centre for Advanced Economic Studies (CEVES) and the MIND Park as part of the Sustainable Development for All Platform implemented by GIZ with the support of the governments of Switzerland and Germany, it was stated that SMEs, directly and indirectly, finance through income paid and other taxes about 40 percent of state activities, despite not having the same state support as large companies do.
“There are changes on the horizon. Also, there are several good initiatives out there but we still have a problem with the business environment, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises,” said the chief economist of CEVES, Kori Udovički, adding that one of the biggest problems for SME enterprises is finding a qualified workforce.
“Currently there are 400 German companies operating in Serbia and employing 75,000 people. It is very important that they cooperate with local small and medium-sized enterprises. This is a very significant step because only with cooperation with local communities can we contribute to the development of Serbia,” said German Ambassador to Serbia, Mr Thomas Schieb.
The Swiss Ambassador to Serbia, Mr Urs Schmid, remarked that his country is a reliable and devoted partner of Serbia and supports sustainable development, “The private sector, and in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, plays a key role in the transformation process towards a circular and inclusive economy in Serbia and we believe it will continue to develop,” the Ambassador added.
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