A total of 460 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) wishing to benefit from EU assistance in restoring their working capacities hit by the May 2014 floods have applied for grants under the EU Floods Recovery Programme. This financial support to SMEs is a part of the overall 42 million Euro EU commitment to assist the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina in overcoming the effects of the floods.
The local economy was one of the sectors hit hardest by the floods, resulting in a number of job losses as businesses could no longer retain their employees due to losses in equipment or inventory. The EU’s support aims to counter this trend and help affected businesses in retaining and creating 2,000 jobs.
“We hope that the EU’s support to SMEs will help boost the economic recovery of local communities. To ensure that job retention and creation is realised, the EU’s investments are made in healthy enterprises; grants will be provided to those SMEs with no outstanding tax debts and which operated without losses prior to the floods,” says Andy McGuffie, Spokesperson of the EU Delegation to BiH/EU Special Representative.
The applications received by the deadline are from the production and service-oriented SMEs from the 24 most severely flood-affected municipalities*. Individual grants for corporate entities will range from 10.000 to 150.000 KM, while applications exceeding the maximum amount may be subject to special consideration.
“The selection process will include representatives from relevant entity-level institutions as well as local and regional development agencies. We are aiming to finalise the selection process and release the results by 15 October 2014,” says Edis Arifagic, UNDP Programme Manager.
Under the Programme’s Livelihoods Component, the next activity will focus on supporting flood-affected agricultural households, who will have the possibility to apply for funding to replace agricultural equipment and/or seedlings damaged due to the floods.
*(Maglaj, Odžak, Domaljevac-Šamac, Orašje, Tuzla, Sanski Most, Živinice, Zenica, Srebrenik, Lukavac, Žepče, Bijeljina, Šamac, Doboj, Prijedor, Banja Luka, Modriča, Laktaši, Srbac, Šekovići, Vukosavlje, Donji Žabar, Čelinac and Brčko.)