Private sector development in disadvantaged regions

Project description 

Title: Private sector development in disadvantaged regions in Serbia
Commissioned by: The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Republic of Serbia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Serbia
Overall term: 2017 to 2020


Following many years with a largely state-controlled economy, private enterprise in Serbia is still in its infancy. The public sector is overburdened and unable to guarantee the level of employment that is urgently needed to ensure socio-economic stability. In addition, the numerous changes in political and economic regulations associated with the process of EU convergence and accession are increasing the requirements placed on private sector development. While new business opportunities are emerging, the changes present a huge challenge for the competitiveness of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

Coping successfully with the changes will call for commitment and results-oriented, systematic cooperation between the public and private sectors, and the availability of appropriate services to promote MSMEs and start-ups. Serbia’s poorer regions in particular need targeted measures to boost the private sector.


The competitiveness and capacity for innovation of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises are improved.


The project operates in three areas to strengthen public and private service providers – especially the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, MSMEs and the relevant ministries:

  1. Improving the services for MSMEs provided by public and private players;
  2. Strengthening the range of services available to MSMEs in three selected value chains: information and communication technology (ICT), metalworking and mechanical engineering, and sustainable agriculture;
  3. Contributing to the national industrial policy. The focus here is on advisory services for the Serbian Ministry of Economy. The needs of the private sector in the selected value chains are to be addressed in public promotional programmes and services.

Expanding the range of services offered to MSMEs by business sector institutions is expected to drive growth and employment. The project’s activities are geared to intensifying business-to-business relations in the selected value chains. New ICT solutions are intended to make MSMEs more productive.

Promoting start-ups supports private enterprise in selected regions of Serbia. New business models for start-ups are being developed, and female entrepreneurship is being strengthened.

Further information