Novi Sad, Leskovac, Ruma and Čačak are the latest to obtain the BFC SEE award after successfully passing through another certification cycle and confirming the status of local governments with a favorable business environment in Southeast Europe. The BFC SEE certificate is awarded by a regional network of partner organizations from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Serbia.
Apart from the multiple participation in the BFC program, the mentioned local governments stand out in the regional framework also due to the extremely high percentage of fulfillment of the criteria prescribed by the standard of business-friendly environment. Novi Sad completed the third cycle of certification at the end of 2020 with about 93% fulfillment. Ruma was recertified for the fourth time this year with 91% fulfillment of the criteria. For the first time, Čačak gained the international BFC SEE certificate with an identical percentage and the status of a business-friendly city.
The best result, not only in Serbia but in the whole region, was achieved by Leskovac with slightly more than 96% fulfillment of the criteria. The result is a product of the entire city’s administration work, primarily the Economic Council, said Mayor Goran Cvetanović.
- Our city has successfully completed the fourth cycle of certification, which confirmed that we are continuously working on developing the quality of our services, and we achieved maximum results in six of ten criteria. Together with the municipality of Gradiška in neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina, Leskovac has the best result in the region. This significant achievement is the result of many years of successful work of the Economic Council, embodied in good cooperation between the private sector and local administration. Also, this is proof of our strategic commitment to establishing a stable business environment. As before, the BFC SEE certificate will be a guarantee that new investors and businesses will receive reliable services at the highest level - said Mayor Goran Cvetanović.
In attracting investors, Leskovac was guided by the recommendation of the BFC SEE standard that local governments target investors from industries in which they have the most potential, and this city is now known for companies from the automotive industry (Jura, Aptiv and Autostop), textile (Dzinski, Falke, Bim tex) and construction (Terastil, IGM Mladost).
Of the 59 local governments from the region that joined the BFC SEE program within the third edition of the standard, 34 of them are certified, including nine cities and municipalities from Serbia. In addition to the current winners, Šabac, Ćuprija, Požarevac, Stara Pazova and Pećinci also have valid BFC SEE certificates.
In order to further promote the program and improve the position of certified local governments, the establishment of the BFC Club, NALED’s new working body which will bring together the leaders of the most successful cities and municipalities in Serbia, is in progress. The club is conceptualized as a platform for dialogue with the highest state officials and actors relevant to the issue of local economic development. In addition, membership could count on other privileges such as influencing the reform process, networking with potential donors and investors, and participating in specialist training programs for local administrations.
BFC SEE is a unique program in Southeast Europe that offers local governments guidelines for improving the quality of services and information for the existing businesses and potential investors, who can measure local business conditions in five countries based on BFC criteria. On the way to certification, cities and municipalities must meet 10 criteria, including the existence of a development strategy, a functional Office for Local Economic Development and the Economic Council, adequate infrastructure, an efficient process of issuing construction permits, a stimulating policy for entrepreneurship development, etc.
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