Half of the Serbian companies, that were a subject of an analysis conducted by USAID Cooperation for Growth Activity, showed a decrease in revenue and net profit in the last year.
The survey of 1,000 companies showed that companies in Serbia still showed resistance to the crisis, since three-quarters of them did not lay off employees, in fact, 12% even increased the number of their workers.
USAID Cooperation for Growth Activity presented on Thursday the results of the ninth annual survey called 1,000 Companies. The results showed the position of the economy with respect to the business environment, revenues and profits of companies, number of employees and opportunities for access to adequate sources of financing. The results also showed the strong impact of the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic on the Serbian economy.
The pandemic has led to a better understanding of the importance of e-commerce. Many companies have recognized the possibility of reaching users of their services online. More than 80% of companies that own an online store believe that online selling is just as important today, if not more important than traditional selling.
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The research confirmed that the local economy, as in the previous ten years, is facing a lack of choices towards adequate financing for companies, and as many as 69% of respondents said they do not have adequate funding opportunities.
“The best way for Serbia to strengthen its economic development is the digitization of the economy, state administration and society as a whole. Fortunately, Serbia has great potential and exceptional talents, as well as government support to do so. Serbia is already adapting to the global digital revolution,” said Anthony Godfrey, U.S. Ambassador to Serbia.
Tatjana Matić, Minister of Commerce, Tourism and Telecommunications, said that the impact of the pandemic has shown how important it is to be digitally literate, as individuals and as a society, in order to continue to work successfully, to perform all daily activities without slowing down personal and professional development.
“This is why it is important to systematically and strategically address the development of digital skills, which is a priority of the Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Telecommunications. In order to empower small and medium-sized enterprises, the Ministry together with USAID, is preparing a guide for all companies that want to start e-business and put their offer on the Internet,” said the Minister.
95% micro and small enterprises, 3% medium-sized and 2% large companies participated in the survey representing the Serbian economy by regions, size and sector of activity. Among them only 12% had more than 20 employees, 54% had only one manager and one in four are export companies.
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