About the project

Project Activities

USAID CFG activities are planned according to the Project Objectives, about which you can find out more here. The latest and most relevant Project activities are:
CFG Lab

Research in Year 1 revealed that limited functionality and low rates of participation in business associations presented a major barrier to implementation of the SBR model as proposed. The CFG Lab provides opportunity for the project to solicit ideas directly from the private sector, cost-effectively fund pilot concepts, and build a pipeline of high-potential activities. This way, CFG takes on some of the risks of testing these ideas. Successful ideas will then be scaled up with full participation from private and public sector partners. The evaluation of the pilots will be conducted on a quarterly basis and reported to USAID in our quarterly report as a basis for further discussion of results. Twice a year, we will convene the partners and look for ways to improve the process. Lab partners will pilot activities in all three Objectives. The latest CFG Lab activities are:

The latest CFG Lab activities are:

Pojacalo.rs

USAID Cooperation for Growth Project supported the launch of a knowledge management platform for SMEs and entrepreneurs, Pojacalo.rs. The platform will use podcasts and other types of content to contribute to empowering and educating SMEs and entrepreneurs about topics that are crucial for their development and growth.

Financial Management Trainings for SMEs

Financial management training for SMEs is a comprehensive and multidisciplinary program, designed with the idea to combine and integrate knowledge and tools necessary for successful business and finance management. The basic premise of the program is to put the business financing into a wider context of running the entire business and through that, show how financial factors can become an important ally in running a business successfully. Also, this program is particularly focused on the issues of availability and real usage of bank financing products and services through increasing transparency and communication between banks and SMEs. USAID Cooperation for Growth Project supported the realization of the program through CFG Lab, with the intention to help SMEs gain real and useful knowledge through it, which will help them grow in the long run.

Boosting Cooperation and Growth through Equity Financing

Through this program, USAID Cooperation for Growth Project wants to improve the capacity of SMEs to articulate their specific needs and to strengthen their ability to attract funds from financial institutions in the form of equity financing. The program consists of awareness-raising workshops, capacity building focus groups, in-depth training, monitoring and evaluation and finally, negotiations with investors. These activities will cover SMEs from the whole of Serbia, not focusing only on companies located in Belgrade. This pilot program will identify root causes of constraints and priorities in the SMEs capacity building in order to access equity finance. This pilot will attract the attention of the appropriate policy-makers and prove that equity financing for SMEs is possible in Serbia, leading to further support for business environment reform implementation.

SME Liquidity Management Study

With this study, USAID Cooperation for Growth wants to enhance the use of existing tools for collection of receivables in the MSME sector. In order to do this, USAID CFG will review all existing legislation impacting MSME liquidity and identifying regulatory constraints, in particular: the Law on Enforcement and Securities, Civil Procedure Law, laws on mortgages and pledges, Mediation Law, Bankruptcy Law, tax laws and other. Then the Project will finally propose measures that will foster the collection of receivables and liquidity growth, together with the analysis on how proper the implementation of current legislation is. Based on the results of the studies mentioned above, USAID CFG will identify a set of recommendations and a feasible receivables increase implementation plan.

Study of the Legal and Regulatory Environment for Crowdfunding

Through the scope of 3 case studies, USAID Cooperation for Growth will conduct research of regulatory, legal and administrative framework for implementing crowdfunding lending platforms in Serbia. The analysis will cover complete legal framework for crowdfunding lending under the Serbian law as well as business aspects of each of three crowdfunding lending platforms case studies in particular: regulation and administrative costs, taxing aspect, information asymmetry problem and possible solution in line with Serbian law, legal accountability of crowdfunding lending platforms as financial intermediaries. Besides legal and business aspects, USAID CFG will estimate the social and market impact of potentially implementing crowdfunding lending platforms in Serbia as an alternative to traditional financing. Finally, USAID CFG will provide recommendations for regulators, intermediaries and other stakeholders involved on measures needed for operational crowdfunding lending in Serbia.

Study on the impact of accountants’ behavior on tax compliance and tax morality of SMEs

USAID Cooperation for Growth is conducting research into the behavior of Serbian accountants and their potential to increase tax compliance of SMEs. The research will provide insight into accountants’ behavior and their relations with the Serbian Tax Administration and their SME clients. Results of the study will represent key indicators of accountants’ behavior and an important baseline for modeling measures for increasing SME tax compliance towards the Serbian Tax Administration. Based on the results of the study, USAID CFG intends to propose a set of recommendations that may improve communication between the Serbian Tax Administration and SME taxpayers.

e-Commerce Program with the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications

USAID Cooperation for Growth Project supports the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunication to boost e-Commerce in Serbia through developing and implementing a comprehensive set of regulatory changes and incentives. The importance of e-Commerce for businesses including MSMEs in digital times cannot be overemphasized from the point of view of both outreach and cost saving. Yet, e-Commerce in Serbia remains underdeveloped. The obstacles persist in the regulatory framework and in adjacent segments of logistics (postal delivery) and e-payments on one hand, and the attitudes of the MSMEs on the other hand. According to the latest available research, 64% of MSMEs do not offer their products and services online. USAID CFG and Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications will work together to identify measures that will have the biggest impact on expanding and improving e-Commerce in Serbia.

Register of dietetic products and health statements

USAID Cooperation for Growth supports the Sanitary inspectorate in the development of two public electronic registries of information related to health and food safety, creating the register of dietetic products and health statements. Once developed, the registers will improve the Sanitary inspectorate’s operations by assembling over 5,000 products that have not been properly monitored so far. In addition to enabling timely and comprehensive records, the e-register is also intended for public access and represents a starting point in the development of electronic platforms aimed to improve the transparency and standardization of inspection processes.

Drafting and Implementing the AIF Law

USAID Cooperation For Growth Project is providing technical assistance in finalizing and implementing the Alternative Investment Funds Law (AIFL), which will transpose the EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive. In addition, USAID CFG is also conducting the regulatory impact assessment and facilitating public consultations and public-private dialogue throughout the process of finalization and adoption of the AIFL. The AIFL is expected to improve access to finance for SMEs by broadening the range of financing instruments available, particularly equity-based financing such as venture capital (VC), private equity (PE), and other alternative investment funds. Bearing in mind that the Government of Serbia is increasingly interested in the development of the alternative investment fund market, USAID CFG is working with counterparts to facilitate the AIFL passage through the legislative process until adoption by the parliament, which is expected in the first quarter of 2019.

Capacity building for Inspectors Network of Serbia

The Inspectors Network of Serbia was formed in October 2017, as a voluntary, non-governmental, professional association of inspectors from all parts of Serbia. The Association aims to improve professional capacities and ethics, represent inspectors’ rights and interests, promote good practices in inspection oversight and increasing the citizens’ trust in inspectors. At the moment, INS gathers around 1,500 members and operates on a voluntary basis. USAID CFG will support raising administrative capacities of the Association, improving external and internal communication and increasing visibility of the Association among inspectors and the general public.

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