The first meeting of partners in the project “BACAR – Better Approach to Growth: Clusters and Competitiveness – Networking in the Adriatic Region”

The first meeting of representative of partners in the project “BACAR – Better Approach to Growth: Clusters and Competitiveness – Networking in the Adriatic Region” was held in Kotor on 24-25 August 2017.

Partners in the BACAR project, whose general objective is to “strengthen institutional infrastructure and services to the SME sector with an aim to strengthen competitiveness through building of the cluster approach in the following sectors: creative industry, tourism and rural development”, are the Municipality of Kotor as the lead partner, the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro, the Public Institution RERA SD for Development of Split-Dalmatia County, the Ministry of Economy of Herzegovina-Neretva Canton and the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Srpska – Regional Chamber of Commerce Trebinje.

During the meeting, project activities realized in the first quarter of project implementation were presented by project partners, the working methodology for establishing clusters was considered, an activity plan for the following six months was analyzed and adopted and the Visibility and Communication Plan presented and adopted.

On the second day of the meeting, a press conference devoted to the beginning of the project implementation was held in the meeting room of the Municipality of Kotor.

The media representatives were addressed by Mr. Branko Nedović, Deputy Mayor of Kotor; Mr. Dragan Đurišić , project manager of the Joint Secretariat Branch Office in Hrceg Novi for the Interreg IPA Cross-border Cooperation Programme Croatia – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro 2014-2020; Ms. Jelena Stjepčević, coordinator of the Kotor Municipality’s Office for International Cooperation and a BACAR project manager; Mr. Srećko Radnić, representative of the Public Institution RERA SD for Development of Split-Dalmatia County and Mr. Maid Ljubović, representative of the Ministry of Economy of Herzegovina-Neretva Canton.

During the implementation of BACAR project the clusters and their cross-border network should become active members of the EEN network. The SMEs clustering and their networking at the regional level will develop their competitive advantages based on the local potentials and make an easier connection with the international market.

In addition, the SME grouping or clustering will increase their strength when negotiating with state bodies and financial institutions, or when addressing their customers.

The BACAR project activities will also include the investing in renovation and equipping of support institutions – new cluster support centres in Kotor, Split and Mostar and the furnishing of new cluster support offices in Podgorica and Trebinje, as well as of the High Textile and Agricultural School and High Tourism and Hospitality School in Mostar, where the advisors and experts will provide support in the fields of leadership, best practices, research, training in cluster concept.

The project is implemented within the framework of Interreg IPA Cross-border Cooperation Programme Croatia – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro 2014-2020 and the priority axis “Enhancing competitiveness and developing business environment in the programme area”. It is one of 20 projects approved during the first call for proposals. The total project budget is EUR 1,019,844.00, with the EU co-funding of 85%, out of which the budget is allocated by countries in the following way: 30% for Montenegro, 34% for Croatia and 36% for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The duration of the project is 27 months (June 2017 – August 2019).

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