Altijana Dzombic owns a small bakery in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH). This bakery, which started as an idea in 2004, has grown into a thriving small business which now employs 26 people. Dzombic’s business is one of the first enterprises which has benefited from the Enhancing Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Access to Financing Project – designed to help people like Altijana secure funds for their businesses in a country which struggles to sustain SMEs.
“We invested in the construction of the building…we bought some equipment….and we bought one vehicle for delivering cakes in Sarajevo,” explains Dzombic. “In the beginning I started working with one girl for a year. Then we started hiring other people.”
This business is one of more than a hundred SMEs benefitting from the Enhancing SME Access to Financing Project, which has been helping entrepreneurs in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2010. The $70 million project provides loans through the Ministry of Finance in BH to small and medium enterprises which meet strict borrowing standards. Over the last three years, it is estimated that 4,000 jobs have been saved and more than 1,100 jobs have been created as a result of this project.