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Support to Enterprise Competitiveness and Export Promotion (SECEP) Project in Serbia

28 January 2010
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 28 January 2010

The Support to Enterprise Competitiveness and Export Promotion (SECEP) Project seeks to improve the competitiveness of Serbian SMEs through three closely interlinked but distinct components: cluster development (including cluster mapping and analysis), supply chain development and internationalisation - promoting Serbian Small and Medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and developing their ability to export.


SECEP’s overall objective is to support the development of a market economy and socio-economic cohesion in Serbia by improving the international competitiveness and export performance of SMEs.

The process of cluster development for six Serbian clusters will follow the quantitative and qualitative mapping. Initially each of the six clusters will undertake the development of a Cluster Action Plan (commonly referred to as cluster road mapping). The Cluster Road Map will identify objectives for each cluster together with the action plan for achieving these objectives. SECEP will then work with each of the clusters to implement the Action Plan. It is expected that the work undertaken will vary from cluster to cluster, depending on the industrial sector, the needs of the cluster and its member companies (such as technology transfer, innovation, export assistance et al) together with the cluster coordination and management requirements.

The initial part of the Cluster Development component is the quantitative and qualitative mapping of Serbia's clusters. A cluster mapping study is undertaken to ‘discover’ where Serbia's clusters are located (quantitative) and to evaluate the potential for further cluster development (qualitative) The study will include mapping and analysis of key parameters such as: the types and numbers of companies in the cluster, the numbers of workers and their levels of skills, business interdependencies and trade links, export activity and how the cluster works with universities, other clusters and organisations such as Chambers of Commerce.

The principle approach to quantitative cluster mapping is the Three Star Location Quotient methodology (a statistical model), favoured by the European Cluster Observatory – allowing Serbia to be ‘benchmarked’ to other European economies. The Three Star methodology focuses on 38 industrial and commercial sectors and utilises employment and/or industry concentration to identify municipalities and districts in Serbia where there exists a density of companies from one of the 38 sectors, thereby suggesting the possible presence of a cluster. Using the Three Star approach to identify possible clusters the project will then visit the municipality to establish if a cluster does exist and the strength of this cluster – resulting in a ‘map’ of cluster activity in Serbia.

SECEP’s second component supply chain development is a Supplier Development Programme seeking to improve the performance of Serbian companies (SMEs) through improving product quality and business acumen so that they may become effective and efficient suppliers to Multi-National Companies working / operating in Serbia – at least fifteen MNCs will be recruited to participate in the Project.

The Programme will embrace innovation, technology transfer and increased quality certification amongst Serbia SMEs. Whilst a primary aim will be to achieve new supply chain contracts for Serbian companies with Multi-Nationals operating in Serbia and the SEE Region-thereby seeking to boost direct and indirect Serbian exports. Import substitution, increased employment and higher value exports are to be the key goals that link the Project to Serbia's strategy for the economy.

The SECEP project will also undertake a programme of internationalisation for the six prioritised clusters. Internationalisation seeks to develop Serbian clusters' ability to not only export, through actions such as market analysis and partner search but also to network outside of Serbia with clusters in other countries (e.g. exchange of experience and joint marketing activities) together with linkages to CEFTA countries.

Source: SECEP website

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