USAID Competitive Economy Project


The USAID Competitive Economy Project is a four-year, $12 million activity to strengthen the competiveness of the Serbian food processing industry, particularly the fruit and vegetable value chains. It aims to increase sales and exports of Serbian food products on domestic and international markets.


The Project partners with business associations, leading industry firms, financial institutions, the education sector and a variety of other service providers to create a sustainable support system for Serbian companies. By focusing on market opportunities, the Project will: 

  • Increase exports by diversifying markets and opening opportunities for integration with demanding distribution systems and reputable buyers, targeting competitive products in frozen, fresh and dried industry segments;
  • Stimulate innovation in premium industry segment by popularizing the industry and developing support systems to allow easier access to domestic retail and hotel/restaurant/café (HORECA) market;
  • Develop new models to support SMEs in support sectors, namely finance and education, to respond to industry needs and create platforms for exchange and learning.


  • Firms export to new markets through high-level international trade fairs – 50 firms attended trade shows in Europe and USA and 100 exhibitors attended domestic trade shows, including the first Belgrade Food Show, for premium food. As a result, 54 contracts valuing $3.5 million in total were signed and 750 business to business networking meetings have been organized;
  • Industry consolidation models market integration with Industry Leading Companies (ILC) and Industry Associations to integrate SMEs and producers into consolidated value chains. As a result, 50 blueberry producers received Global Gap certificates, 34 berry and vegetable producers and 14 SMEs entered value chains of two leading Serbian companies, (Brestovik and RZ Agro) and one American company with a Serbian presence (Van Drunen), enabling them to meet requirements to access new export markets;
  • Premium Food Design Hub (PFDH) - 4 hubs worked with 20 SMEs and food startups in a pilot activity to produce high-quality food products, through upgrading design and packaging, food technology, storytelling, access to finance, and product innovation. As a result, 30 new products can be found on retail shelves of major domestic chains. PFHD also supports the “dm-drogerie markt Incubator initiative” where 20 producers will scale and transform their products to enter dm retail stores, a major German chain of retail drugstores operating in Serbia; 
  • Firms informed about available traditional and alternative sources of finance – 150 firms across the country participated at financial awareness trainings, organized in partnership with Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, gaining knowledge about managing and accessing finance; 30 companies were selected to develop business plans to access sources of finance.
  • Umbrella branding for Serbian food products - All project efforts are included in unified media campaigns and events aimed at raising the profile of Serbian food products in domestic and international markets. As a result, local companies are gaining visibility and recognition through modern and digital visual methods, promoting Serbia, the industry and their products to wider audiences.

Project funded by:

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID/Serbia)

Project implemented by:

Cardno Emerging Markets USA, Ltd. (in cooperation with DNA Communications and Souktel Inc.)

Key counterparts:

Ministry of Agriculture; Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia; Development Agency of Serbia.

Where we work:


Project duration:

April 2017- April 2021

Total amount:

$ 12 million 


10L Bulevar Mihajla Pupina, 11000 Belgrade

Phone: +381-11-40 11 700


Last updated: April 04, 2019

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