In the framework of the project "Establishing and promoting mentoring services to SMEs in the Western Balkans, Phase 2, 2017-2020", Development Agency of Serbia (RAS) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), on Wednesday, will welcome high representatives of the Embassy of Japan, mentors and representatives of regional agencies from Serbia, representatives of partner organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, with guests from the Bulgarian Agency for the Development of Small and medium-sized enterprises, at the meeting that will be held on November 21, in Belgrade.
This is one of a small number of JICA projects that has a regional character and a rare example that JICA supports the fourth project in a row in one country.
So far, more than 600 micro, small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs have been supported through the annual RAS mentoring program, but the number of users is far greater (over 2000) since the standardized mentoring scheme is included in the portfolio of services within other RAS projects, such as: USAID PSD project, Support Program for Start-up companies, Standardized Set of Services implemented through Accredited Regional Development Agencies.
In Serbia, 169 small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs received a mentoring service in 2016, in 2017, 261 users, while in 2018 work with 103 companies is in progress.
Companies in Serbia currently have more than 50 certified mentors from 16 accredited regional development agencies that are able to provide complete mentoring support, while among the mentioned 50, even 20 mentors are involved in activities that are being implemented in the countries of the region (in the Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia) where trainings of new mentors are held.