Financial Technologies for Business Growth and Innovation

Financial Technologies for Business Growth and Innovation
Ambassador Scott addresses the audience.
USAID Serbia

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Belgrade On June 4, 2019, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Cooperation for Growth project organized a Business Forum on financial technologies and ways the various financial technology solutions could be adapted to strengthen greater access to finance for small businesses in Serbia.

“For Serbia to grow as fast as it could (and should), it needs to provide greater access to finance to the entrepreneurs who will drive the economy forward.   By some estimates, the gap in financing for small and medium size enterprises totals 1 billion euros per year.  This is a huge missed opportunity for these firms and for Serbia,” said U.S. Ambassador Kyle Scott.  The issue was also highlighted by the government in its 2019-2021 Economic Reform Program.

In Serbia, nearly three-fourths of entrepreneurs use their own savings when starting a business or seek financing from family and friends, since most small businesses do not qualify for bank loans.  SMEs are the backbone of global economies, and they represent more than 99% of enterprises in Serbia.  SMEs are the source of new jobs, and play a key role in raising income while widening a country’s economic base. 

Participants also discussed the need for a regulatory framework that would encourage the development of new types of financial institutions and products that would increase opportunities for the growth of the private sector.

“I must express my satisfaction with the fact that public finances are stable and that we are able to focus on structural reforms that will lead to further development,” said Prime Minister Ana Brnabić. “The most effective vehicle for strong economic growth is the digitalization of all segments of the economy and society, which will also be discussed at today’s forum. In the 21 century, the competitiveness of a small economy as is Serbia’s needs to be based foremost on fast and courageous companies that invest in science, innovation and growth.”  

 

Last updated: September 10, 2019

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