Podgorica, 30 May 2023 - National conference on the development of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Montenegro, during which the draft Strategy for MSME Development 2023-2026 was presented together with the importance of the support of the Kingdom of Norway to this sector, was held in Podgorica within the project "Norway for you - Montenegro".
Micro, small, and medium enterprises are the mainstay of the Montenegrin economy, and therefore it is necessary to further strengthen support at all levels, the National Conference emphasised.
"After the exceptional growth of the Montenegrin economy, the country experienced a sharp recession in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The economy recorded a strong recovery in 2021, and continued to grow at a steady pace in the first half of 2022. However, the consequences of the energy crisis and the rise in global commodity prices led to significant inflation in Montenegro. External influences also affected the MSME sector in Montenegro, so specific programs of the Government of Montenegro were strongly aimed at maintaining liquidity and employment in these companies. We are grateful for the support provided by Norway and UNOPS in the realization of strategically important activities and I believe in long-term cooperation in the coming period", the General Director of the Directorate for the Improvement of Competitiveness of the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism, Olivera Vukajlović said.
The Kingdom of Norway continuously provides support to the development of the MSME sector through various areas, and since 2019 until today, within the "Norway for you - Montenegro" project, 280 small businesses have improved their competitiveness, 80 new jobs have been created, and 200 people have gained new knowledge and skills.
"Within the project, the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism was provided with expert support for the development of the MSME Development Strategy for the period from 2023 to 2026. Also, the project supported the establishment of four Business Info Centers within four local governments, as well as 110 small businesses, in the second phase of the project through the strengthening of the ecosystem of various organizations that support small businesses in Montenegro", the "Norway for you - Montenegro" Project Manager Armen Čekić said.
At the conference, there was also a panel discussion on supporting the development of MSMEs towards green, circular and digital transformation, including female entrepreneurship and innovation, in which participated Bojana Femić Radosavović, Executive Director of the Innovation Fund, Zvezdana Oluić, Adviser for Women's Entrepreneurship and Management of the Employers' Union of Montenegro, Aleksandar Janičić, consultant in the field of digital transformation of small businesses and Jelena Krivčević, Executive Director of the Regional Development Agency of Bjelasica, Komovi and Prokletije.