Norway Supports the Development of Small Businesses and Innovation in Montenegro with One Million Euros
27 September 2021
Milatović: "Support of the Norwegian Government adds value to our efforts to create a favorable environment for economic development."
Podgorica, September 21, 2021 - The Kingdom of Norway will allocate one million euros in the next two years for the development of small businesses and the improvement of the innovation ecosystem in Montenegro, through the second phase of the project "Norway for you - Montenegro".
Through a new phase of the project that will last until September 2023, the Kingdom of Norway will support the Government of Montenegro in accelerating, transforming and diversifying the economy. The objectives of the project "Norway for you - Montenegro" are to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of support for the development and transformation of the micro, small and medium enterprises sector, as well as to improve the innovation ecosystem and strengthen institutions in charge of innovation development in Montenegro in line with the strategic framework and best European practices.
"I am very pleased that in this phase of the project we have jointly recognized the support for small businesses and innovations, as key generators of the development of the Montenegrin economy. Given the numerous reform activities undertaken by the Government of Montenegro in the past in these areas, the support provided by the Norwegian Government and implemented by UNOPS and UNDP is encouraging, adding value to our efforts to create a favorable environment for economic development based on knowledge and small business," the Minister of Economic Development Jakov Milatović said.
Through seven results, the project will support the Government of Montenegro in designing, implementing, and monitoring state aid programmes for micro, small and medium enterprises and work with local governments to improve the business environment and cooperation with central authorities and strengthen inter-municipal cooperation.
"We will continue our support based on the experiences from the first phase of the project, and I hope that the Ministry of Economic Development will be an integral part of the continuation of this program, whose best practices the Ministry will include in its work. And the continuation of the project "Norway for You - Montenegro" is tangible evidence that Norway is committed to supporting Montenegro to improve economic and social development, enhance good governance and contribute to regional stability," the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway H.E. Jørn Eugene Gjelstad said.
In the area of innovation, the project will support the strengthening of the newly established Secretariat of the Innovation and Smart Specialization Council, as well as the strengthening of the institutional framework of the Innovation Fund and its capacities. In addition, the support of the Kingdom of Norway will be focused on supporting the newly established Science and Technology Park of Montenegro and improving the quality of services to its tenants, establishing the National Technology Transfer Office, and improving monitoring and control of innovation policies implementation through digital tools.
"I am glad that the Kingdom of Norway continues to support the Government of Montenegro through the second phase of the project, which will contribute to the country's development and fulfillment of the Agenda 2030. The next phase of the project will be implemented by UNOPS in cooperation with UNDP, which I consider recognition of the joint work of various UN agencies in Montenegro, the Government and the Embassy of Norway,” the UN Resident Coordinator in Montenegro Peter Lundberg said.
Through the first phase implemented by UNOPS from December 2018 to May 2021, the project conducted four public calls for support to small businesses and business development, vocational training and local infrastructure development, and selected more than 40 grant projects. This way, 160 small companies received the necessary equipment and services, which they used to improve their business and create 39 new jobs, and more than 70% of them increased their revenues. Vocational training was provided successfully for 68 unemployed persons, of which 41 were employed, while the rest improved their skills needed to find a job.
"We are proud of the results achieved in improving access to employment, and municipal infrastructure - and we are now entering the second phase of this project to continue strengthening the economic sector but also facilitating innovation. UNOPS remains fully committed to working together with the Ministry of Economic Development, the Kingdom of Norway, local self-governments, and other national and local stakeholders for a successful implementation of this project while continuing to offer our expertise that supports the fulfilling of our mandate in the project management, infrastructure, procurement," UNOPS Serbia Multi-Country Office Director Michela Telatin said.
The project "Norway for you - Montenegro" is harmonized with the relevant national strategies of Montenegro in the field of employment and balanced regional development, as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which are continuously supported by United Nations agencies. The second phase of the project will be implemented by UNOPS in partnership with UNDP, which has been entrusted with the task of improving the innovation ecosystem in the country.
"The state has recognized the importance of innovation, research and development, gradually increasing budget allocations for these areas. UNDP wants to support the innovative community, promoting the preconditions for success - vision and use of innovation for the benefit of people, creating an innovative culture in which individuals will have a safe learning environment from mistakes, with the inevitable joint work to strengthen the system as a whole”, the UNDP Resident Representative Daniela Gasparikova said.
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs