Business Friendly Environment as a Precondition for Attracting Investors

Business Friendly Environment as a Condition for Attracting Investors

13 March 2013, Zoran Antić

The City of Vranje is implementing a local development policy fully complying with all development complexities and with a special emphasis on the importance of partnership. Creation of a business friendly environment includes a series of measures and interventions, whether it is about planning, investment in infrastructure, improvement of legal framework and relaxation of procedures, promotional activity, strengthening of partnerships or transparency of operations.

Certificate of a Business Friendly City was awarded in recognition of prior activities in a process implemented by the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED). Expansion of the Industrial Zone in Bunuševac by an additional 116 hectares is a capital investment representing an additional fundamental incentive for creating an attractive investment climate. An agreement on construction of a shoe factory was signed with the “Geox” company that will be located in the mentioned zone. The said investor is expected to hire 1,250 workers in the first phase while the announced arrival of his partners will generate at least additional 500 jobs.

Another investor is opening a production line with a plan to employ over 600 workers in the next phases. It is a well-known furniture factory “Ditre Italia”. The zone will operate according to the principle of a free zone and the city has already initiated the procedure for establishment of a business company “Free Zone”. The idea is for the free zone to “grow” into a technology park in the future.

Labour force development is also one of the strategic development prerequisites whether in terms of redefining educational profiles to match the market needs or additional construction of educational/training facilities to complement the existing system of education and upbringing. It involves modern training centres and one of them is supposed to be built within the future free zone.

Efficient local government is a real service for the investors. In that regard, the City Administration of Vranje, especially the Office for Local Economic Development, demonstrates true readiness to provide the services and care for the investors through one-stop-shop system. The City of Vranje is among the first local governments in Serbia to have established the mentioned office with a support of USAID MEGA programme in September 2006.

It was already stressed that partnerships and development are inseparable categories. Development excludes autochthony and Vranje is an open and cooperative environment. The “overlapping” between development visions of local government and donors is especially important. EU PROGRES is one of the best examples. The Programme has supported numerous projects. As for economic development, one should mention the development of the detailed regulation plans, one of which is the detailed regulation plan for the industrial zone in Bunuševac right on the location where “Geox” and “Ditre Italia” are planning to establish their facilities; development of the main design for the bypass to Industrial Zone; branding project – i.e. promotion of the city as an investment enabling environment; support for the Business Incubator Centre for entrepreneurship development of vulnerable groups. Furthermore, this programme funded by the European Union and the Government of Switzerland helped Vranje to establish a One-Stop-Shop for issuance of construction permits and support to businesses which additionally simplifies the procedures faced by the investors when they come to our city. These are just some of the projects. For those reasons exactly EU PROGRES was honoured with an award “31 January” on the occasion of our Day of the City.

The support of the national government and its agencies is also essential. Serbia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SIEPA) stands out as one of the key partners for realization of capital investments like “Geox” and “Ditre Italia” together with the Ministry of Finance and Economy. By developing our own local environments, we develop areas, i.e. we develop Serbia as well!

Zoran Antić
Mayor of Vranje

The attitudes outlined in this article represent personal beliefs of the author and do not necessarily reflect viewpoints of the European Partnership with Municipalities Programme, or the European Union, the Government of Switzerland and the Government of Serbia.

Please be informed that the European Partnership with Municipalities Programme – EU PROGRES was completed on 31 March 2014. If you would like to learn about the activities and results of the European PROGRES, which is a continuation of development support of the European Union and Government of Switzerland to the South East and South West Serbia, please visit