In her remarks, the Swiss Ambassador Sybille said: “I am glad that CEED will continue to offer the services created within the project after it ends. It is important that companies throughout Macedonia have access to knowledge, networking and finance. This will help them grow, as many of those included in the project did.”
U.S. Ambassador Baily, in his remarks, stated: “We can proudly bring this project to a close knowing it has benefited hundreds of small businesses across the country, and that these small businesses will continue to contribute to Macedonia’s economic prosperity. Likewise, CEED will continue to work with businesses of all sizes introducing new business ideas to the Macedonian economy.”
Towards the end of the event, nearly 200 participants were awarded certificates for their successful completion of entrepreneurial programs conducted in the last year of the project. The event ended with a small exhibition at which about 15 project participants showcased their products.
Launched by USAID in July 2011, and co-funded by Switzerland, the Micro and Small Enterprises Project (MSEP) was a six-year, $3,079,400 project that supported micro and small enterprises through training, networking and mentoring opportunities, consultancy services, export support, and access to an investment fund. The project was implemented in eight regions across the country. Companies that participated in the project saw an overall increase of 25.8% in new jobs and employment opportunities. Through the project, 22 companies received investments worth $1,031,000 (these figures include $82,000 from business angels, and $53,000 owner investments), 389 micro companies received business development services, 593 participants received 12,026 man-hours of training through entrepreneurial programs, and 140 companies introduced new business practices in their respective organizations.