Link Up! Serbia II

Contract partner: ICMPD - International Centre for Migration Policy Development Country: Serbien Funding amount: € 1.669.453,74 Project start: 01.11.2019 End: 28.02.2023

Short Description:

Overall goal

The overall goal of the program is to foster transnational entrepreneurial activities with and through the Serb diaspora in Austria and other DACH countries by facilitating access to knowledge, networks and financial resources.

Specific objectives: A) Strengthen local competitiveness (targeting private sector SMEs) and capacities (targeting public and private stakeholders and DACH diaspora) for cooperating with diaspora in DACH markets; and B) Expanded business engagement between markets (including introduction of new business operations by key stakeholders and events organized in Serbia and DACH states).

Expected results

(1) 255 empowered SMEs from Serbia; 2.000 entrepreneurs reached by information of interest & support for engaging diaspora & DACH markets;

(2) 150 empowered individuals or MSMEs run by persons from vulnerable groups from Serbia;

(3) 110 included diaspora entrepreneurs & 35 mentors; 1.000 business diasporans reached by information of interest & support for engaging Serbia

Target group / Beneficiaries

A) At least 255 Serbian SMEs (4 groups); up to 600 entrepreneurs; around 50 LSGs (3 groups).

B) 800 SMEs and entrepreneur members of the online platform; 50 LSGs members of the online platform.

Partner: CCIS (Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia) Centre for Investments and PPP Support, 15 CCIS Regional Offices, CCIS Representatives in DACH countries, 6 Regional Development Agency (RDAs), Serbian Development Agency, Ministry of European Integrations (policy proposal), and Serbian Government


The project will implement 4 grouped intervention measures:

Intervention measures 1 will focus on strengthening local competitiveness through mentoring local SMEs for internationalization and early stage diaspora entrepreneurs for transnational entrepreneurship towards the Serbian market.

Intervention measures 2 will focus on providing information and program support to SMEs and diaspora.

Outcome of the intervention measures 1 and 2: SMEs & entrepreneurs have more capacities & know-how to enter into business cooperation in Austrian & other DACH markets & attract private capital, while key stakeholders (RDAs, CCIS & LSGs) provide integrated diaspora support service, foster business & investment opportunities & specific support to vulnerable groups.

Intervention measures 3 will set-up an online platform with service support sections and information sections for SMEs.

Intervention measures 4 will include stakeholders piloting new business operations and successful business events important for face-to-face connections, trust development, and new business practice based on diaspora-domestic business cooperation

Outcome of the intervention measures 3 and 4: Business cooperation significantly expanded between Serbian SMEs & DACH markets through scaling the use of online platform services & information sections, as well as from implementing business operations & competitive events in Serbia & in DACH countries for encouraging DDI & FDI.


The Republic of Serbia is an EU candidate country with prospects of becoming an EU Member State by 2025. As indicated in the EU documents, further progress is needed towards the fulfilment of the Copenhagen criteria, amongst other those relating to a functioning market economy and the capacity to cope with competition and market forces. The EC progress report ‘Serbia 2018 Report’ assessed Serbia to be moderately prepared in developing a functioning market economy, specifying challenges relating to unpredictable business environment, SMEs difficult and costly access to finance, unpredictable para-fiscal charges as well as internationalization of companies. Increasing investments and private sector growth is, thus, a declared objective of Serbia’s political leaders.

This project builds on the fact that diaspora can serve as an EU bridge between Western Balkans SME business culture and EU or even influence new consumption behaviours. Diasporans are in a unique position to become successful market leaders because of access to information, market intelligence throughout EU and Serbia, and their international expertise.

project number 2784-00/2019
source of funding OEZA
sector Geschäftwesen und andere Leistungen
modality Contributions to specific-purpose programmes and funds managed by international organisations (multilateral, INGO)
marker Gender: 1, Trade: 2
  • Policy marker: are used to identify, assess and facilitate the monitoring of activities in support of policy objectives concerning gender equality, aid to environment, participatory development/good governance, trade development and reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health. Activities targeting the objectives of the Rio Conventions include the identification of biodiversity, climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, and desertification.
    • 1= policy is a significant objective of the activity
    • 2= policy is the principal objective of the activity
  • Donor/ source of funding: The ADA is not only implementing projects and programmes of the Austrian Development Cooperation , but also projects funded from other sources and donors such as
    • AKF - Foreign Disaster Fund of the Austrian federal government
    • BMLFUW - Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water
    • EU - Funds of the European Commission
    • Others - various other donors are listed in ADA’s annual business report.
  • Type of Aid – Aid modalities: classifies transfers from the donor to the first recipient of funds such as budget support, core contributions and pooled programmes and funds to CSOs and multilateral organisations, project-type interventions, experts and other technical assistance, scholarships and student costs in donor countries, debt relief, administrative costs and other in-donor expenditures.
  • Purpose/ sector code: classifies the specific area of the recipient’s economic or social structure, funded by a bilateral contribution.
  • Tied/Untied: Untied aid is defined as loans and grants whose proceeds are fully and freely available to finance procurement from all OECD countries and substantially all developing countries. Transactions are considered tied unless the donor has, at the time of the aid offer, clearly specified a range of countries eligible for procurement which meets the tests for “untied” aid.