Project ‘SMEPASS - Promotion and provision of advisory services to SMEs’ ceremonially closed
The closing ceremony of the project SMEPASS - Promotion and provision of advisory services to SMEs', jointly funded by the European Union and the Government of the Republic of Croatia and implemented by the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts, was held today in Museum of Contemporary art in Zagreb. H. E. Paul Vandoren, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Croatia, Gordan Maras, Croatian Minister of Entrepreneurship and Crafts and company representatives of best projects attended the closing ceremony.
In the SMEPASS project 2.788,240 € was invested in the period of 20 months, and in total 200 enterprises and 74 consultants and business professionals, mostly from Croatia, were involved. 3500 working days were dedicated to deliver consulting services in the area of marketing and quality management, individually tailored to each of the company involved. Many of the companies, coming from virtually all sectors, from timber and metal processing, textiles, food products in particular organic food, cosmetics and a broad range of services and software, have never before used consultant services.
Making high quality business consulting available to small and medium sized business and helping them to become more competitive, explains the motivation for the SMEPASS initiative. At this stage microbusinesses were included as they represent a significant volume of the Croatian economy which we do not want to neglect. The services were offered for free, to stimulate the market and to promote such services.
"SMEPASS paid special attention to include businesses from regions with structural problems, suffering from competitive disadvantages, cut-off from the capital Zagreb and the major cities in Croatia. The entrepreneurs from all over the country reacted positively, and the results of our project have not only met but even exceeded our expectations", stated Matthias Halder, Team Leader of the SMEPASS project.
At the closing ceremony representatives of top 11 companies chosen by the consultants of the SMEPASS project had the opportunity to give an insight into the experience and the impact SMEPASS has had on their business. Representatives of Priroda liječi d.o.o., IVETA d.o.o., Volo d.o.o., Marti Innovative Constructions d.o.o., Arena modna kuća d.o.o., Obuća Viko d.o.o., Tušak d.o.o., TIPS d.o.o., MarinaLab opus d.o.o., Presscut d.o.o., Promeks kompjuter d.o.o. each held a short presentation of their business activities and the outcome.
"To compete in our markets, we need top quality marketing advice. We are absolutely excited about the professionalism and dedication of the SMEPASS consultant and determined to continue with her’, stated Mirjana Brlečić, Managing Director at Priroda liječi d.o.o.
"Although we followed closely our business plans, we lost two major clients and pace with the markets. The recession made things even worse. The fresh ideas from the SMEPASS consultant empowered us to turn the negative trend around. We changed our entire marketing approach including packaging and branding" stated Goran Radotić, Managing Director at Volo d.o.o.
"We are happy to acknowledge the willingness of the Croatian Government and the EU to support our manufacturing sectors. The consultant assigned by SMEPASS fully satisfied our expectations helping us to implement a quality management system in a very efficient way", stated Snježana Peček, Managing Director at IVETA d.o.o.
SMEPASS project is implemented by Cifesal International Consulting in consortium with SGS Netherlands. The EU project was launched in December 2010 to boost the competitiveness of Croatian SMEs through high quality business consulting services. The projects operated in the context of the European Union’s IPA Regional Competitiveness Program, where IPA stands for ‘Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance’, set-up to support countries to get ready for the EU membership. SMEPASS was managed in close cooperation with the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts.
For more information: Marina Hodak, Ministarstvo poduzetništva i obrta, Ulica grada Vukovara 78, 10 000 Zagreb, +385(01) 6106 792, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.minpo.hr