Memorandum of cooperation signed between MLS and FITR in order to increase the competitiveness of the planning regions

A memorandum of mutual cooperation was signed by the Ministry of Local Self-Government and the Fund for Innovation and Technology Development, which will enable the realization of the voucher program for capacity building of enterprises in the Republic of North Macedonia. The cooperation will be realized through the Regional Business Centers within the Centers for Development of the Planning Regions.

Today we signed a Memorandum in order to jointly help small and medium enterprises to more easily access the budget funds that are intended for their support and development. Together with the Swiss Government through the project "Sustainable and Inclusive Balanced Regional Development", the Ministry of Local Self-Government provides 3 million MKD or 51 percent, and the Fund for Innovation the other 49 percent of the financial support intended exclusively for the voucher program for enterprise capacity building in the country, said the Minister of Local Self-Government, Goran Milevski.

According to Milevski, the purpose of this mutual cooperation is to contribute to increasing the competitiveness of the planning regions through the voucher program by supporting small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurship. Full information of the potential users from all planning regions about the possibilities for the conditions and the ways of using the funds from the Program, as well as training of the administration that should provide the services.

The support will be realized through the Business Centers that function within the Development Centers in all eight planning regions. The business centers will function as regional offices that will inform potential users of all FITD public calls for private sector support, then will provide technical support to potential applicants from the respective region, for all active calls for each individual instrument, and will provide operational and financial support to the voucher program for capacity building of enterprises in the country. I expect that the cooperation will continue in the following period, based on the experience we will build and based on customer satisfaction, specifically the business sector. With the support of small and medium enterprises, we support the development of the regions, the increase of the number of new jobs, a better standard of living in all parts of the country, he explained.

FITD remains a committed partner of Macedonian companies. Thus, we continue together with the business sector to generate new investment cycles and accelerated economic growth based on innovation and technological development, as well as increased number of employments. The purpose of today's cooperation is to bring closer the Fund's instruments and the opportunities for financial support that the state offers to domestic companies throughout the country. With this approach of decentralized support and information we want to encourage companies in all planning regions, and not only in Skopje, to apply in the Fund and turn their business ideas together into successful projects, said Kosta Petrov, director of the Fund for Innovation and Technology Development.

According to the Ambassador of Switzerland in Skopje, Sybille Suter, the development of entrepreneurship starts locally, but still relies heavily on connecting entrepreneurs with the real resources they need to develop their business activities.

Using the 8 Business Centers within the Centers for Development of Planning Regions as informal satellite offices of the Fund for Innovation and Technology Development, we will provide more small and medium businesses throughout the country, especially in the underdeveloped regions, to gain valuable access information about the opportunities available to them. That is why we believe in the importance of building, connecting, strengthening and growing of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in North Macedonia and we will continue to work together to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth by creating jobs and improving the business environment, she said.