FACT SHEET: Workforce and Higher Access to Markets in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Project Snapshot
Total Funding: $4 million
Project Duration: June 2017 – June 2020
Implementing Partner: International Executive Service Corps (IESC), awarded through the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA)

The Challenge

Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to a growing number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) that are adopting international standards to supply sophisticated European Union customers, yet the economy is still not generating enough jobs for its citizens.

Our Program

USAID's Workforce and Higher Access to Markets (WHAM) Activity stimulates job creation by advancing Bosnia and Herzegovina's trade integration with and expansion into EU and regional markets.

Implementation and Results

WHAM is improving the capacity of high-growth, exporting, and export-ready SMEs via cost-share grants for interventions in the targeted sectors of metal and wood processing, textiles, and footwear. Our main goals for this project are:

  • Improve the workforce: The project will develop partnerships with public and private sector to share the cost of recruiting or retraining a labor force with adequate skills. Assistance may include providing relevant secondary schools with adequate equipment.
  • Increase market access: The project will support companies in the targeted sectors to identify and access new customers and markets. This may include supporting private and public-sector initiatives to enable BiH companies to attend major regional and international trade fairs.
  • Improve product quality and use of new technology: This assistance will assist companies in the targeted sectors by introducing quality management systems, technology upgrades, and necessary product/service certification required in target markets, such as EU standards and/or other relevant quality standards.

This activity aims to increase exports by 30 percent for assisted SMEs and create 1,545 new jobs, half of which will be held by youth and 20 percent by women.

For more information, write to vmilin@usaid.gov.