New opportunities for the economic empowerment of the women and youth in the Western Balkans through the pilot project in partnership with Helvetas within Sida’s Regional programme on inclusive economic development

On  1 September 2020, the German organisation Help – Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe signed the Partnership Agreement with the Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, a Cooperation Partner to Sida, and thus became an Implementing Partner to Helvetas in Sida’s Regional programme on inclusive economic development in Eastern Europe and Western Balkans.

The Help pilot project “Vibrant ICT-BPO sector for better economic opportunities” will support skills, knowledge and intermediation development in the Western Balkans. Replicating and improving successful models from Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the ICT (Information communication and technology) and BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) sectors in Serbia, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro, the project will lead towards the better functioning of the business services and the supply of skilled workforce as well as the promotion of the regional brand and the BPO sector.

The focus of this pilot is on promoting and strengthening the economic “regional value addition” of the ICT-BPO  sector in Serbia, N. Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro, building on successful models tested in Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In practice, it means branding the region by stimulating the competitiveness of private sector enterprises and creating a critical mass of skilled workforce of women, young people and other excluded groups to generate more inclusive and sustainable business development.

The core of the pilot project consists of three pillars. The first pillar is private sector enterprises development and growth through ICT tools and transition of SME’s into the digital economy. The second is creation of sustainable models for delivering the demand-driven training packages which mean skills and knowledge development (hard and soft skills) bringing participants up to the industry standard demanded on the market. And last, but not least, the third pillar is the active promotion of the ICT-BPO sector leading to increased investment and diversification in range and quality of services it provides.

On behalf of Help, the Agreement was signed by the Managing Director, Ms Karin Settele and Deputy Managing Director, Mr Timo Stegelmann.

Help is thrilled to embark on this new journey further strengthening the Western Balkans competitive advantages and support to the economic empowerment of the people of the Balkans.