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Financial platform reaches century milestone in Macedonia

 

Stainless steel tanks manufactured by ZAVAR. The company can now scale up production with a new facility. Stainless steel tanks manufactured by ZAVAR. The company can now scale up production with a new facility. The trailblazing Financial Platform, an innovation from USAID’s Macedonia Competitiveness Project (MCP), hit a milestone in December: 100 companies have successfully received financing thanks to its assistance since its launch in 2008.

The companies, most of them small to medium enterprises, have accessed a total of $32.6 million, with which they’ve invested $56.8 million in their businesses—and added 863 new jobs to the Macedonian economy.

The Financial Platform uses a pool of 20 pre-qualified professional local financial advisors who collaborate with companies to formulate business growth strategies, find the financial solution that best fits those strategies, develop investment plans and produce bankable financial proposals that are submitted to banks or other financiers.

“When I see a financial proposal developed by a USAID Competitiveness Project-supported financial facilitator, I’m more confident that the investment plan has been well thought out and the proposal sound,” said Aleksandar Stanojkovski of the Macedonian Bank for Development Promotion.

In nearly all cases, local or regional financial advisors are used on a cost-sharing and success-fee basis, making the program sustainable and scalable—and leveraging between $100 and $250 in new investment for every USAID dollar spent and in 2010.

One of the Financial Platform’s early success stories was ZAVAR, a leading Macedonian designer and manufacturer of stainless steel processing equipment, pressure tanks and pipes for the food, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. In 2008, their large-scale manufacturing was still being done outside, making it vulnerable to bad weather, and they needed a new facility to house production and improve productivity and work flow.

With MCP financial facilitators, the company carried out an in-depth analysis of business performance across ZAVAR’s eight business lines, reviewing the labor costs, productivity and profitability of each line. Armed with the new information, ZAVAR got a positive response from several financiers and was able to invest in a new facility that includes a ceiling crane and new traceability processes.

“We are more informed and thus better able to plan the dynamics of developing the company and implementing the investment and expansion,” said ZAVAR’s general manager, Marta Naumovska Grnarova.

Published January 2011