RECOGNITION FOR THE BENEFITS THE WB6 CIF PROVIDES FOR THE REGION’S BUSINESSES – AWARDS FOR WB6 CIF FROM THE ECONOMIC CHAMBER OF NORTH MACEDONIA FOR CONTRIBUTION TO ACHIEVING THE CHAMBER’S PRIORITIES – DEVELOPMENT OF EXPORTS AND SECURING QUALIFIED WORKFORCE FOR THE NEEDS OF BUSINESSES
On the occasion of marking the 101 anniversary of the work of the Economic Chamber of North Macedonia, the WB6 CIF has been granted an Award by the Chamber for its contribution to Macedonian companies in supporting export growth and creation of qualified workforce fit for the needs of businesses.
“That’s why today, pointing out the main priorities of our economy, exports and creation of qualified workforce for the businesses, we want to highlight once more what is the right path for the development of the regional economies, but also to acknowledge the role of WB6 CIF as one of the key stakeholders in the realization of these priorities and the contribution it has made in the past year to achieving the Chamber’s strategic goals, which is to focus exclusively on the interests of the companies and the added value they receive”, was stated by president Azeski on the ceremony marking the 101 anniversary of the Economic Chamber of North Macedonia, held in Skopje.
“This is an encouragement for WB6 CIF to boost our ambitions to support the region’s economies and bring them closer to each other and the EU market. I hope it is also an encouragement to businesses in the region to seek further support and cooperation with their respective chambers of commerce and with us at the Western Balkan 6 Chamber Investment Forum”, stated president Rafuna in accepting the Award.
The Awards has been granted to WB6 CIF for its achievements in implementation of the Regional Supplier Development Programme and the Regional Challenge Fund, and the direct benefits provided to Macedonian economy.
With the view to provide support for economic cooperation between the countries of the Western Balkans, the WB6 CIF, with the support of the European Union, has been implementing the Regional Supplier Development Program, which is aimed at increasing the export capacities of companies and facilitating their inclusion in regional and global supply chains, and which includes more than 6,500 companies from the entire region. Within this program, the following activities have been implemented for Macedonian companies:
– mapping of suppliers from the region (in the sectors of the automotive industry, the light processing industry and the agricultural and food industry, where the Market Access database includes 483 Macedonian companies with 964 products and 94 services offered by them);
– databases have been created to facilitate access to information on entering new markets;
– technical assistance for access to finance (for a total of 7 Macedonian companies, assistance was provided during the preparation of applications for the available funds, whereby two of the submitted applications were approved for financing with grants in the amount of 105,314 euros);
– technical assistance for internationalization (for 10 Macedonian companies from the following sectors: production of machines and machine parts, production and processing of fruits and vegetables, and production of alcoholic beverages, expert support was provided through the preparation of reports for selected European markets, preparation of a digital tool for the target markets, organized workshops on various issues related to the entering of new markets and preparation of individualized export strategies for the companies);
– joint participation in the international fairs in Tirana, Mostar, Podgorica and in Hanover (for a total of 16 Macedonian companies, the total costs for participation in the fair were covered – rental and branding of the stand – for accommodation and for the transportation of company representatives);
– joint presentation of the investment potentials of the Western Balkans region at the investment conferences in Belgrade, Ljubljana and Hanover;
– organization of 6 trainings and info-days aimed at raising the capacities of Macedonian companies, informing them about the key benefits of the action plan for a common regional market, the CEFTA Additional protocol 6, the application of the existing and transitional rules for the preferential origin of goods, in accordance with the PEM Convention, electronic documents and digitalization.
Through the Regional Challenge Fund, the WB6 CIF actively contributes to the support of dual education in the Western Balkans economies, by awarding grants for investments in equipment, machines and laboratories to improve the learning environment for students in vocational education and training and to improve the quality of activities for practical training and work-based learning. The project, which WB6 CIF is implementing starting from 2020, is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (64.43 million euros) and the Government of Switzerland, through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (9.7 million Swiss francs) and was established as a financial mechanism designed to increase the employability of young people and to strengthen the competitiveness of enterprises in the economies of the Western Balkans.
Within the framework of the two calls realized so far, the Regional Challenge Fund has approved funding for a total of 14 projects from the Republic of North Macedonia, with 6.13 million euros, which are implemented in partnership by 14 consortia consisting of 14 educational institutions and 66 companies, in which the practical work will be carried out, namely:
– at the first call, 8 consortia from the Republic of North Macedonia received grants in the total amount of 3.4 million euros, namely 29 companies with 7 vocational schools and 1 higher education institution;
– at the second call, funding by grants, in the total amount of 2.73 million euros were approved for 6 consortia from the Republic of North Macedonia, which include 37 companies with 4 vocational schools and 2 higher education institutions. A total of 23 applicants participated from our country, which included 80 companies (15% large, 55% medium and 30% small).
In parallel with these activities, the chambers of the region through WB6 CIF are actively involved in the activities for the preparation of regional standards of occupations and qualifications, through the Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERI SEE), for the realization of joint educational programs for qualifications (7 standards of occupation and 7 standards of qualifications), and companies from North Macedonia, through the activities realized in cooperation with WB6 CIF, are involved in educational events, workshops and trainings for the exchange of experiences and to more easily overcome the challenges in the implementation of dual education programs.