Access to Croatian market spells growth for business
“Appearing at the [fair] meant a lot to us because the Croatian market is one of the most important markets for selling our products.”
It was a tough competition of nearly 400 exhibitors at the Ambienta 2012 trade fair in Zagreb, Croatia. And a firm from Brčko, Bosnia and Herzegovina—Rattan Sedia Co.—won the prestigious “Mobil Optimum 2012” Golden Plaque and Diploma award for the design and quality of products from its OPLETTI furniture collection.
Rattan Sedia was one of five wood furniture companies from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) that attended the fair with USAID support through the Fostering Interventions for Rapid Market Advancement (FIRMA) Project, which is co-financed with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The fair, a week-long event held every October, hosted 393 exhibitors, 198 of which were international companies from 29 countries.
“Appearing at the Ambienta Fair meant a lot to us because the Croatian market is one of the most important markets for selling our products,” said Mersed Mehic, co-owner of Rattan Sedia.
The company reported an annual 17 to 20 percent increase in its exports for each of the past three years, due partly to the USAID-Sida FIRMA Project. And the good news doesn’t stop there, Mehic said.
“We expect better results next year. The award we received will improve our ratings in Croatia, which will result in even better sales,” Mehic said. “Regardless of next year’s sales, however, our cooperation with the USAID FIRMA Project, through participation in various fairs and promotion of our products, has really helped our company grow and expand.”
The other four BiH companies that exhibited at the fair are Economic Vitez, Izazov Kalesija, Eden Garden East Sarajevo, and Zedex Zenica.
The last joint exhibition of BiH companies at the Ambienta Fair was in 2007, which is why this fair was so important: It brought BiH companies back to the Croatian market, which is especially important given Croatia’s upcoming accession to the European Union (EU).
Ambienta is an annual meeting place for the entire wood sector—forestry experts, manufacturers, wholesalers, designers, market evaluators and trade press—and is oriented not only toward the regional market (Croatia, BiH, Serbia, Montenegro and FYR Macedonia) but toward EU markets of Italy, Hungary, Austria, Poland and Germany as well.
The FIRMA Project supports sustainable economic growth, employment expansion and increased household incomes in Bosnia and Herzegovina in three sectors of the economy—wood and metal processing, and tourism. The five-year project, which runs from September 2009 to September 2014, works through a network of local partners—development agencies, chambers of commerce, business associations and business service providers—to ensure sustainability after the project has ended.
Last updated: January 16, 2015