Nathan to help create 20,000 jobs
Even as European companies have seized a significant share of Croatia’s domestic market in food products, apparel, housewares, hardware, and furnishings, opportunities abound for Croatian companies to grow and entrepreneurs to prosper by selling to local and foreign customers, build on Croatia’s growing tourism industry, and capitalize on its location in serving European markets. Croatia, however, has been slow to realize its potential. Four years ago the problems of rebuilding the infrastructure loomed large; now EU accession requirements seem daunting.
How can Croatia translate its business potential into reality and create employment in competitive industries? Nathan and team member DAI, through the USAID-funded Enhancing Small and Medium Enterprise Performance (ESP) project, will be assisting Croatians in increasing revenues, exports, and investment¾all prerequisites for the goal of EU accession. The project will achieve its main goal of helping create 20,000 jobs by working with Croatia’s business and regional leaders, institutions, entrepreneurs, service providers, and buyers and sellers.
ESP will attract more foreign buyers of Croatian products, more high-value tourists, more foreign investors, and more Croatian companies. Specific activities will produce new contracts, improved products, new distribution channels, more suppliers to successful companies, and more jobs. These activities include improving small businesses’ access to financing; linking small businesses to exporting companies; making it easier for Croatians to find locally produced products in retail outlets; and further developing industry clusters in promising industries, such as tourism, specialty foods, and furniture and wood, to strengthen export platforms, reach new markets, and influence policymaking.
ESP’s goals are to increase by 20 percent (year-on-year) orders for 1,000 firms in years 2 to 4 to help 40 firms reach new markets; to help at least 10 firms establish new distribution channels for local markets; to help 200 companies adopt new technologies or products; to diversify sources of finance and help 1,000 firms access these products; and to help 1,000 firms develop and implement export strategies. The final result: 20,000 new, sustainable jobs in vibrant and dynamic enterprises.