USAID Cooperation for Growth (CFG) Project

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As the implementing partner for USAID’s Cooperation for Growth (CFG) project, Cardno helps to advance the conditions for economic growth in Serbia by improving access to finance and strengthening the business enabling environment.

While COVID-19 has accelerated e-commerce, the move towards this was already set in motion by market forces, the Serbian government strategy and our advocacy and support.

Our team has made visible progress in mainstreaming digital transformation to date of this publishing, including:

  • Building an e-commerce community and strengthening the e-commerce ecosystem resulting in 305% increase of domestic online payments
  • Expanding access to finance for SMEs by facilitating the introduction of three new financial vehicle/products
  • Introducing e-learning tools and trainings to increase SME sophistication in financial management and establishing closer relationships between banks and SMEs, resulting in more than € 22 million bank lending to SMEs
  • Enhancing the expansion of a cashless economy and innovative invoicing financing through support to f a government’s tailor-made B2B e-invoicing platform
  • Supporting the regulatory framework for crypto assets, considering their importance for further development of technology, capital markets development and economic growth
  • Mobilizing business community to advocate for a change of the Foreign Exchange law, which inhibits innovation in financing
  • Engaging private sector resulting in $700,000 leveraged fto date
  • Streamlining tax regulation and introducing tax incentives for investors in alternative financing tools, and standardizing and modernizing inspections’ oversight

Through USAID Serbia CFG, Cardno is dedicated to enabling SMEs to have adequate access to finance. This includes our strong assistance to the government in creating and strengthening the equity financing ecosystem and introducing alternative investment funds and digital financing tools into an overly conservative e-finance market.

Building on our strong knowledge of access to finance issues, we have been able to help introduce two new digital finance products, the first crowd investing platform in Serbia (Ventu.rs), and the first online factoring platform (Between.rs).

Cardno’s unique approach focuses comprehensively on all digital transformation and access to finance issues. Our project team has been a one-stop shop for other donors to come and seek partnerships, advice, exchange knowledge and use our digital tools and promote them thru their strong networks.

We have also continued building our legacy USAID product, Annual Business Survey of 1,000 Serbian firms. More than ever, this year’s survey will provide further contextualization of COVID effects.

Cardno has pioneered digital transformation and innovative finance topics which enhances the data sets and shows both the level of sophistication and readiness of Serbian private sector to embrace innovation.

This work has been is recognized by the Serbian government, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Union, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank, and the Serbian business community.

Read more about Cardno's 30-year history through more than 90 projects in Serbia and the Balkans by clicking here.

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