USAID BUSINESS WITHOUT BORDERS PROJECT

Start date:  January 2011                                         
End date:    December 2013 
Project budget:  $1,336,857             
Implementer: Business Start-Up Centre – Bitola (BSC-Bitola)         

Objectives

Accelerate economic growth in southwestern Macedonia by facilitating the startup of new enterprises as well as the growth and competitiveness of existing micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); creating jobs and employment opportunities for the young, vulnerable and unemployed; and improving the regional framework of MSME development through the activities of BSC-Bitola, its business incubator, and local & regional partners in the public, private, civil-society and academic sectors.


Components

Business Startup & Support:  Support to entrepreneurs, existing MSMEs and unemployed citizens through a portfolio of assistance aimed at starting and registering innovative new microenterprises, supporting the growth of existing MSMEs, and bridging the gap between job-seekers and employers. MSME and human resource development activities include a business plan writing course; business plan competition; MSME training portfolio; human resource development services; credit facility loan guarantee fund of $632,500 ($300,000 from USAID and €250,000 from Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs); MSME consulting services; Technology-Transfer Toolbox; and a set of development tools specifically targeting technology development and transfer.

Incubator Development & Sustainability:  Improve the financial and operational sustainability of BSC-Bitola in order to reduce or eliminate the necessity for future international donor support by developing new revenue streams, expanding space and operations, implementing cost-share practices, reducing expenses, and increasing shareholder and partner inputs.

Regional Cooperation in Economic Development:  Enhance interaction between actors in four sectors (public, private, civil-society and academia) at municipal, regional and national levels through cooperation and collaboration on economic development initiatives.


Achievements/Impact

Since its inception in January 2011, the project helped 77 new entrepreneurs to start their businesses and 68 existing ones to improve their performance.  As a result, 276 new jobs have been created, almost half of them occupied by women.  To support continuous professional development, the Centre organized 66 advanced training events that were attended by 1,139 participants from the region.

By the end of the project, BSC-Bitola will facilitate startup and legal registration of 100 new micro and small enterprises, support the growth of 120 existing MSMEs, and place 250 individuals in jobs in MSMEs in the nine municipalities of the Pelagonia region plus Ohrid.  BSC-Bitola plans to develop a new set of business development services in response to business demand and attract an increased number of micro enterprises that will receive and pay for these services.

The project will work in collaboration with other USAID programs, such as the new Youth Employability Skills Network, the Small Business Expansion Project, and the Development Credit Authorities to carry out joint initiatives and thereby have a wider impact in the country.


Contact Information

Contact at USAID:      Tanja Markovska, AOR, tmarkovska@usaid.gov
Chief of Party:            Rozita Talevska Hristovska, r.hristovska@bscbitola.org
Information Officer:  Elena Stojanovska, e.stojanovska@bscbitola.org
Website:                     www.bscbitola.org

Last updated: November 18, 2013

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