RCI Replication of ActivitiesRegionalization of successful Project Management (PM) Initiative – Serbia to the Region For workforce development RCI has supported local individualsbilateral approaches to get PM training and certification and, as a result, double the amount of people receiving assistance. After the success of the pilot, RCI developed a report “Regional Project Management Capacity Assessment” (rciproject.com/rcibhreports.html) which highlighted needs and interest from several countries. RCI is now initiating a replication of the PM activities in Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and three more (Moldova, Macedonia and Kosovo) are interested to be included in 2011. eBiz Projects - Macedonia to Bosnia and Herzegovina In 2007, USAID Bosnia and Herzegovina participated in the RCI Regional IT Conference, where one of the best practices shown was the Macedonia eBiz Project with activities in tex-RCI, throughout its existence, tiles, shoe manufacturing and tourism. After this visit and furtherhas been innovative and often activity development in partnership with the Norwegian Gov-introduced different economic ernment, the eBiz program was replicated in Bosnia and Her-development activities that add zegovina as the Excellence in Innovation Project (ei-bih.ba).value to existing countryprograms, are picked up as a Quality Mark (QM) tourism standards – Bulgaria to Albania and Macedonianew activity or are replicated in In 2007, RCI looked into the successful USAID program in Bul-other countries. Some of these garia on standards in tourism - the Quality Mark (QM), focusedexamples are presented here. on small hotels and B&Bs. The QM added value to the old star system by standardizing a hotel’s service, management, and environmental policies. RCI developed guidebooks and held awareness events throughout the region. In 2010, the USAID Albania Rritje Project and Exploring Macedonia each took on the QM initiative. Other countries have expressed interest. In Macedonia, the EBRD TAM/BAS project contributed funds to start the program there. ITMark / CMMI, IT companies’ training and certification standards – Bulgaria to the Region RCI has been a leader in the region in the development of the IT sector from the beginning of the project. In 2007, building on our successful program of IT training and certification of com- panies in ITMark and CMMI, the regional German assistance GTZ ORF Programme also supported these efforts. By cost sharing with GTZ, RCI was able to increase the number of companies and countries assisted. The RCI project is implemented by SEGURA/IP3 Partners.
! RCI Western Balkans Supplement !"#$#%&()%*+),+-%+") Overview In partnership with National Geographic Traveler (NGT) and ./01/-)/-)/)%#2"&-$) through cost-sharing with regional USAID missions and pro- 3+-%&/%&#) jects, the RCI Project finalized in May 2010 the Western Bal- kans supplement “Land of Discovery: 46 Outstanding Ways to Experience Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Mace- donia, Montenegro and Serbia”. www.rciproject.com/tourismng.html The supplement was conceptualized and developed through roundtable discussions and familiarization trips throughout the region. The sites were chosen according to the following key themes: • Historical / World Heritage Sites and ruins; • Unique villages / towns; • Churches, cathedrals, monasteries and mosques; • Art and museums; • Festivals and celebrations; • Local music / musical instruments; RCI collaborated with National • Outdoor markets / specialty stores / boutiques;Geographic Traveler and USAID • Distinctive foods or dishes, cafes and restaurants;missions in the Western Balkans • Unique crafts, wood, glass, fabric, etc.;to produce this regional tourism • Beaches, lakes, parks and gardens;promotion tool. • Resorts and spas, B&Bs, agri-tourism; • Outdoor activities (hiking, biking, skiing); • Wildlife, birds, fish, animals, etc. Coverage The NGT Western Balkans supplement was disseminated with the May / June 2010 issue of the National Geographic Maga- zine and Traveler to about 240,000 subscribers from the UK, Netherlands and Germany. What next? Building on the success of the Western Balkans supplement, RCI is looking into continuing the cooperation with National Ge- ographic in several areas, such as possible supplement fo- cused on the Caucasus region and development of NG Geotourism web sites for the RCI region. The RCI project is implemented by SEGURA/IP3 Partners. !
!Regional Competitiveness Initiative WebsiteOverview The website pools together a broad range of RCI resources. In addi- tion to background information on RCI, the website contains: • Sector-specific information on RCI activities in IT, tourism, agri- business and workforce development; • Scopes of work for RCI and other USAID competitiveness pro- jects in Europe and Eurasia; • All research papers produced under RCI, as well as agendas and presentations from RCI events since 2005; • Archived RCI newsletters, as well as RCI news items on the front page; • Front-page links to World Economic Forum competitiveness rank- ings for RCI countries; • Competitiveness studies from various think tanks and research institutes; • A thematic calendar of events to promote information-sharing and coordination. In May 2010, RCI launched its Designed to serve the region, the RCI website is a work in progresswebsite, www.rciproject.com. that will evolve according to the needs of regional stakeholders. TheThe goal of the website is to interest of those stakeholders since the website’s inception has beenallow E&E missions, projects, very strong. In its few short months of operation, the RCI website has been visited 2023 times by 1146 different people. 63.82% of thoseand stakeholders to access and visitors viewed more than one page. Other data collected about theshare information on regional RCI website include:competitiveness. Most Viewed Pages • 6,223 page-views, 4,643 unique views; • The most viewed page is the home page (43%), followed by the Sarajevo event main page (5%), USAID scopes of work (5%), and Sarajevo Reports (2%). Geographic Origin • E&E region (over 35%); • The U.S. (44%). Traffic Source • 52% have come from direct traffic (e.g., clicking the link in email announcements, or typing the address directly); • 26% from sites linking to the RCI website; • 21% from search engines. Keywords include “rci project”, “region- al competitiveness”, and “rci usaid”. The RCI project is implemented by SEGURA/IP3 Partners. !
!"#$!"%&%()*!+,!-+./&0&!One of RCI’s tasks as a Below is a summary list of reports developed in recent yearsregional project is to research under the Regional Competitiveness Initiative:and analyze the most current • At the 2008 RCI Annual Event in Budva, Montenegro, RCIeconomic issues, then present presented the report “Competitiveness in the Europe andopinions and possible solutions Eurasia Region: Past, Present and Future”, by Neal Na-to the regional USAID thanson from USAID Washington, who then updated the re-Missions, Projects and other port into “Europe and Eurasia Region: An Overview oflocal stakeholders. USAID Supported Competitiveness Projects”.! • At the 2009 RCI Annual Event in Kyiv, Ukraine, with the global economic and financial crisis affecting the region, RCI focused on this most urgent topic with “Causes of the Crisis, Its Transmission to Eastern Europe, and Impacts on Economic and Social Conditions”, presented by Dr. Paul Marer from the Central European University in Budapest. • At that same event, RCI presented the reports “Technology and Innovation Competitiveness in Eastern and Southeast- ern Europe” by Goran Radman, former South East Europe Director for Microsoft and “Workforce Competitiveness in the Next Decade” by Dr. Eric Butler. • At the 2010 RCI Annual Event in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Her- zegovina, Dr. Paul Marer presented an update on the global crisis with “The Global Economic Crises: Impact on Eastern Europe” and “The Greece-Euro Crises and their impacts in Eastern Europe”. • Other interesting presentations were made on efforts to overcome the crisis by Dr. Krassen Stanchev from the Insti- tute for Market Economics, “Coming Out of the Crisis: Cau- casus, Moldova and Ukraine”, and by Dr. Dragana Radevic from CEED Consulting Montenegro, “Coming out of the Global Economic Crisis: Current Status, Effects, and Re- sponses - Sub-regional focus on the Western Balkans”. • RCI also develops sector-specific reports. In 2009 for in- stance, at a workshop on workforce development activities in Macedonia, RCI presented “USAID Macedonia Workforce Development Assessment: Taking Steps toward a 21st Century Workforce” by Dr. Eric Butler. All of these reports and many more can be found on the RCI website - www.rciproject.com. Feel free to use them in your work and dissemi- nate to your partners and clients. The RCI project is implemented by SEGURA/IP3 Partners. !
!"#$!%&()*+!,$-!./01)*/!!"#$"%#& In May 2010, RCI, in collaboration with the European Software Institute (ESI) Center for Eastern Europe, launched the website www.quality2it.org - a platform for regional capacity in IT Train- ing and Certification. The main objective of this website is to support the establishment of an Excellence Network for Eastern Europe and promote cooperation and partnership between IT training and certification service providers. The website features: • A catalogue of Excellence Centers and Service providers of IT training and certification services; • The quality services that can be found within the network are in areas of: Strategic Management, Operational Man- agement, Project Management, Software Development PI, ICT Services PI, Information Security, Vendor Specific and University programs; • 31 quality service organizations as members of the net- work, which are registering more than 60 training and/or certification services; • Organizations from 15 countries: Albania, Armenia, Azer- baijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Georgia, Croatia, Kosovo, Moldova, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine; • A news section where registered organizations can share information about their events/ trainings, success stories, in- troduction of new services, project implementation, etc. The site has a user-friendly interface both for the compnies that presents their products and services and for potential clients interested in purchasing them. The RCI project is implemented by SEGURA/IP3 Partners. ! !
!"#$!%&!()%*+,-!$.!/0*),+0&1!!"#$%#$%&(&)*+,#-.&/0,*-#0$1& SIGMA-SB dooel – Skoje was founded in 1995. The firm has-0&12+,,&+$3&243#*2& been successful in the development and the deployment of all- in-one systems -- planning, design, and implementation of4$-4"5"#141&#$&6*"054&+$3& complete cutting-edge IT solutions to improve the business6*"+1#+& processes of its clients. The technical excellence of the firm re- sulted in the rapid growth of its business, but on an organiza- tional level the company faced serious challenges. A small business in Macedoniatalks about how training A possible solution was to deploy a model which would provide improvement in the process of service delivery. The choice wasreceived with the assistance of made in 2007 to get the firm IT Mark certified, with the supportUSAID’s Regional of USAID’s Regional Competitiveness Initiative.Competitiveness Initiative “We knew that for small-l and medium-sized enterprises adopt-helped improve the firm’s ing world-class models such as CMMI was a lengthy and chal-management, response time, lenging process, which required a lot of time and effort, and thatand customer satisfaction. deterred us from initiating a CMMI-based process improvement program,” said Slavcho Boujarski, general manager of the firm. “So when ESI Center Bulgaria in the framework of the USAID- funded RCI program presented to us the IT Mark methodology, which is based on the concept of subdividing the CMMI path into a series of smaller objectives, we recognized its affordabil- ity – we could achieve the milestones with moderate efforts and in a shorter period of time.” Just after its first IT Mark certification, Sigma SB signed two new contracts in which the firm was able use its newly acquired skill to plan and guarantee product delivery to the client. Major benefits reported by the company management included: increased customer satisfaction with the quality of work (less bugs and better fulfillment of the requirements); shortened re- sponse time; the ability to provide new higher-level services; and the development of new services. Building on this success, the company continued its process improvement program after the project with RCI was complet- ed. In 2010 the company achieved a higher level of certification, “IT Mark Premium”, and planned to become certified for CMMI maturity Level 2 in 2011. The RCI project is implemented by SEGURA/IP3 Partners.! !
RCI Improves IT CompetitivenessLeveraging Resources to RCI and its regional IT partner ESI Center Bulgaria/Eastern Eu- rope have developed and implemented a specific model toImprove IT support IT training and certification activities, while leveragingCompetitiveness in the co-funding from other donors and partners.E&E Region RCI’s model is part of a systematic approach used to support regional competitiveness. It is based on the IT Competitiveness Pyramid, which is used to assist regional clusters of firms to improve their processes and obtain the internationally recog- nized certifications, CMMI and IT Mark. All activities are imple-One of the major objectives of mented in partnership with regional stakeholders from donorRCI is to ensure the sustaina- organizations, business associations, firms and individuals.bility of ICT activities and to These stakeholders provide a significant part of the financingobtain commitment from other for and offer further support after the initial pilot projects.stakeholders and donors in theregion to the activities per- The participation of other stakeholders not only leverages theformed. RCI funds spent on the program but also ensures strong com- mitment and long-term sustainability for the initiatives. The first programs based on the IT Competitiveness Pyramid were launched in 2005-2007. They have impacted the whole region and proved their sustainability: • After the completion of the USAID program in Bulgaria, oth- er programs such as EBRD Business Advisory Services Program and the Bulgarian Competitiveness Program, funded by EU, continued their support for the CMMI /IT Mark initiative. The ESI Center Bulgaria has become a re- gional excellence center in Eastern Europe and the Cauca- sus. • The RCI IT program in Macedonia was recognized as a de- velopment model for the region. In 2008 the German GTZ decided to fund a large-scale regional program based on the original RCI model, which supported more than 50 firms from six countries. • RCI activities in Moldova were implemented in partnership with local firms and the CEED project funded by USAID. This not only contributed to the overall competitiveness of the Moldovan IT sector but also resulted in the creation of the excellence center for IT QLab that will develop local ca- pacity for IT training and certification in Moldova. The RCI project is implemented by SEGURA/IP3 Partners.
!"#$!$%&()*+,))!-,.)*/,!!"#$"%#& The website features: • 48 IT companies presenting 111 of their own products and solutions for different economic sectors, including tourism and travel, agribusiness, furniture, food, textiles, medicine / pharmaceutical, banking / finance, building, manufacturing and automotive; • Solutions presented by companies from 15 countries – Al- bania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bul- garia, Georgia, Croatia, Kosovo, Moldova, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine; • A paper version of the web catalogue with a circulationIn May 2010, RCI, in collabora- 1400 copies. Of those, over 1300 copies are disseminatedtion with the European Soft- to companies and industrial associations in Eastern Europeware Institute (ESI) Center for and the Caucasus;Eastern Europe, launched the • Three companies, which shared feedback and acknowl-website www.it2business.org, edgment that, through the IT2Business catalogue, they started successful business relations with companies froma platform for cross sector links other countries or sectors.between ICT solution develop-ers and companies from other Most Viewed Pageseconomic sectors. The goal ofthis website is the worldwide • 6540 visits;promotion in different econom- • The most viewed page is the catalogue and search pageic sectors of successful IT (40%), followed by the home page (8%), welcome noteproducts and solutions devel- (15%), and resources repository (10%).oped by regional (Eastern Eu-rope and Caucasus) Traffic Sourcecompanies. • 62% have come from direct traffic (e.g., clicking the link in! email announcements, or typing the address directly); • 20% redirected links from partners sites - RCI, ICT associa- tions and companies in Moldova, Armenia, Bosnia and Her- zegovina, Romania, the ESI Center Bulgaria site, www.quality2it.org0 etc.; • 17% from search engines. • The average time spent in the site is 3.25 minutes with a peak time of 24 minutes. ! The RCI project is implemented by SEGURA/IP3 Partners. ! !
!RCI: Excellence in IT!"#$"%#& Events and Statistics RCI, in cooperation with its partner the European Software In- stitute (ESI) Center for Eastern Europe, has three kinds of events related to excellence and certification: awareness, train- ing, and appraisals. The events took place in 13 countries in Southeast and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Summary statistics for the period June 2005 – October 2010: • Excellence events: 67 • Companies involved in the excellence events: 413One of RCI’s most strategic • Companies certified: 37sectors is information technol- • Excellence trainees and participants: 1,777ogy (IT). RCI is a leader in de- • Qualified individuals: 827veloping IT in each country and • Associations involved in the excellence activity: 11enhancing competitiveness in Feedback from participant companies:the Western Balkans and the • 82% of companies increased their competitiveness by moreCaucasus. One of the main than 20%;activities RCI supports is the • 85% of firms reported increased client satisfaction and 58%excellence of IT companies reported decreased “time to market”;through training and certifica-tion. The result is that the IT • 37% of companies reported sales increase of 20%-50% duecompanies improve their or- to the CMMI / ITMark implementation program.ganization, processes and Testimonials from Beneficiariesproducts, which leads to higher “The most visible result we have seen is having real-time re-productivity and expanded porting on what is really happening within our company. Ourbusiness opportunities. managers have online access to all of their projects and can! instantly see which tasks are on time, which are lagging behind schedule so they can push the team or add more resources to the team to get the task done on time.” IT Company from Macedonia “When implementing ITMark and as recommended by CMMI we introduced a new practice in our work with banks: When we receive requirements we create a prototype of our vision of the product and then discuss it again with the client. In 80% of the cases our vision appeared to differ a lot from the client’s vision. Previously this created a lot of rework. Now we can assure a correct vision of the requirements and final product that are un- derstood correctly by us and the clients.” IT Company from Moldova ! !
! RCI Events Overview!"#$%#$%&(%)*)"&")%#($+,& One of the main strategic goals of RCI is to share knowledge-+.)*(,/)"-&-#$0)&1223& and information across borders and regions. RCI implements this through electronic media such as the RCI web site, quarter-100%90% ly Newsletters, bi-weekly tourism & agribusiness information,80% and the bi-monthly InfoShare. To add more value, RCI’s most70%60% successful tools are the events that bring stakeholders from all Poor50%40% Fair countries and regions together to share their experiences and30% Good Excellent learn from each other.20%10% 0% Evaluation Networking Quality of Materials and opportunities presentations documentations General assessment of the usefulness of RCI events is over- whelmingly positive. • Relevance: 96-100% indicated that they found RCI events relevant to their work • Meeting expectations: 92-100% of attendees said that events have met their expectation • Continued interest: 93-100% of respondents are likely to attend RCI events in the future The different aspects of RCI meetings receive very positive rat- ings (excellent or good at a rate of 86-96%). Statistics RCI is contributing to the From 2005 to 2010, RCI has organized about 50 events attended regional dialogue on by a total of over 3500 participants, which have included competitiveness by holding representatives of the private sector (over 40%), local regular events ranging from governments, and USAID projects and missions. roundtable for 10-15 practitioners on a specific topic The RCI project is implemented by SEGURA/IP3 Partners. (agribusiness, tourism, etc.) to & annual events with over 100 participants. !
Global Engagement Initiative in Action“Regional Opportunities On June 28, 2011 in Izmir, Turkey, at EBILTEM (a local universityfor Growth Conference” entrepreneurship center), CEED Global and its local partner BATI- BINOM (Western Anatolia Chamber) implemented a two day ICT28 June, 2011 business-to-business matchmaking event - "Regional Opportunities for Growth Conference." The B2B event was made possible by theIzmir, Turkey Global Engagement Initiative with the support of the Regional Com- petitiveness Initiative (RCI). Informatics, Electronics, and Telecommunication were among the key new technological industries represented at the event. The goal was to establish a platform for effective collaboration and regional integration among ICT companies from the South East Europe region. [Insert Photo Credit] A total of 60 companies participated at the B2B company matchmaking of which 19 were from Eastern Europe where CEED has offices (Bulgaria, Kosovo, Slovenia, Romania, Macedonia, Albania, BiH), and 41 were local firms, universities and organizations. In the morning opening session, Dr. Serdal from TEMEL presentedTurkey is the fastest growing information on business and trade development in the Izmir region. This was followed by a presentation by Mr. Peter Statev, Chairman atmarket in the region. This event the Bulgarian ICT Cluster who spoke about the IT market situation inhelped strengthen Southeast Eastern Europe, and based on his personal experience, provided theEurope – Turkish business audience with the business know-how on how a foreign company cancontacts and highlighted open a representative office in Turkey.opportunities for increasing trade Later, one of the leading Turkish producers, VESTEL Electronics,and investment. spoke about its R&D management, presenting a video demonstration on new areas of technological involvement. The last speaker from the Bulgarian IT Association, BASSCOM President George Brashnarov, spoke on the topic of internationalization and cooperation. The afternoon program continued in the form of "Speed Networking" to increase communication and collaboration opportunities by having prearranged face-to-face meetings with individual companies. These 15 minute meetings (80 in total) allowed company representatives to exchange information and created the opportunity to talk in further detail about actual business ideas. The event resulted in 15 potential co-operation connections and post- event contacts. Following the success of the event, the two organizing partners CEED and BATI-BINOM agreed to continue this regional collaborative work, and do another follow-up event focused on estab- lishing further business partnerships. The participating companies themselves also expressed the need for continued and deeper in- volvement so that the regional ICT networking could further expand and flourish.
SIX KOSOVO COMPANIES RECEIVE USAID-FUNDED GRANTS TO SUPPORTINNOVATION The US Agency for International On March 1 2013, the Innovation Centre Kosovo (ICK)Development and the Norwegian recognized six startup companies that received USAID grantMinistry of Foreign Affairs work together support to build their innovative businesses. The awardeesto finance business innovation and job include an internet service provider, a developer of educationalcreation in Kosovo software for kids, and a developer of videogames for Facebook, iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Designed to propel business innovation and create jobs in Gjergj Filipaj Innovation Centre Kosovo Kosovo, the USAID Innovation Grant Fund provides support, on a competitive basis, of up to $5,000 to selected ICK incubator tenants to develop their product or service and bring their innovation to the market. USAID Mission Director Maureen Shauket and Norwegian Acting Ambassador Jon Hansen both spoke at the event, highlighting the importance of accelerating business growth inInnovation Grant Fund recipient Ms. Blerta Kosovo. “I am very pleased to be able to award grantThaçi of Eduapps LLC, together with USAID certificates to the first six ICK tenant companies, two of whichMission Director Maureen Shauket andActing Ambassador of the Norwegian have women co-owners. With these grants, you will be able toEmbassy Jon Hansen at the Awards promote your businesses, test your new products and services,Ceremony and launch your products in the market.” said Mission Director Maureen Shauket. The ICK Foundation was established and operates with funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managerial and technical support from founders Athene Prosjektledelse“We came to ICK as a group of young Norway, the Kosovo Association of Information andstudents with ideas. ICK helped us develop Communication Technology (STIKK), and the maininto a functioning company with productsthat are ready to be offered in the implementing partner Crimson Capital. It is designed to assistmarketplace." Innovation Grant Fund entrepreneurs in developing innovative and commerciallyrecipient Ms. Blerta Thaçi of EduApps LLC. successful companies that create future-oriented jobs. ICK provides workspace, mentoring, and training to select entrepreneurs, and has already supported 19 companies on a cost-shared basis. The USAID Innovation Grant Fund is made possible via a grant from the USAID Regional Competitiveness Initiative (RCI) to ICK as a center of excellence, and is an example of close donor cooperation and co-financing. Under the grant, ICK is also providing training in Computer Aided Design (CAD) and iOS programming to local professionals.
Opportunities are just around the corner Many entrepreneurs today have products and services ready to be used, but they lack connections and networks through whichSometimes people to channel them. CEED’s main objective is to enable entrepre- neurs and their management teams to develop their companiesconduct their search by gaining practical know-how, mentoring, peer-to-peer learn-in multiple directions ing, and regional and international business cooperation. [Insert Photo Credit]including a variety of In Jan. 2013, CEED Albania launched its Top Class Program targeted to small and medium enterprises, aiming to increaseindustries and tools, their business knowledge, and expand their networks in orderbut in many cases to create new business opportunities. The main goal of the event was to introduce the participants to each other and tosolutions are found create a positive atmosphere in which new business relation-much closer ships would breed. This activity afforded participants the opportunity to spend a whole day in a relaxed business environment getting to know each other, and thus sparked many business possibilities. Even CEED Albania started its by the end of the first event, the participation in the Top Class second generation of the Top Program enabled some of the entrepreneurs to look at new Class program by organizing business opportunities. Impress Studio, a graphic designing Team Building. company made an agreement with the company BTC, which is the authorized dealer of Kaspersky computer viruses for Alba- nia, and Elite Travel, a tourism operator, for exchanging prod- ucts and services according to their current needs. “I am very satisfied with the organization of this first event and people I have met. I am grateful to CEED for creating this pro- gram and enabling me to meet with new business partners” said Arvid Tartari, the representative of Impress Studio. Andi Bogdani from BTC also felt that this first event exceeded his expectations; “I have found a new partner. Impress Studio will prepare the marketing materials for my company and at the same time agreed to use the antivirus services that we are providing” said Bogdani.
RCI/CEED Trip to Israel and Jordan under the GlobalEngagement InitiativeEntrepreneurs hit the From 01-07 December 2012, the CEED leadership team from SEAF led a group of 20 entrepreneurs from Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria,ground running, not Greece, Kosovo, Romania, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and theducking United States to Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan to map the land- scape and meet visionaries, technologists, financiers, and entrepre- neurs in three technology clusters. With the help of the well-known Israeli investor, Yossi Vardi, and Dr. Glenn Yago, Director the Milken Institute in Jerusalem, CEED was able to introduce members of the group to a Who’s Who of change makers in Israel. Erel Margalit (Founder of Jerusalem Venture Part- ners), Bob Rosenschein (founder of Answers.com), and Jonathan [Insert Photo Credit] Medved (Founder of Our Crowd) were just a few of the marquee names among the 40+ people who met in intimate surroundings with the group to share their stories, compare experiences, and discuss their outlooks for the future. Many sessions included new and experi- enced entrepreneurs pitching their businesses and meeting with ourTwenty entrepreneur members of group to look for synergies and ways to work together.the USAID-sponsored CEED In Ramallah, the team visited with entrepreneurs, investors, and gov-program journeyed to Israel, ernment officials over a working lunch at the Movenpick Hotel. ThePalestine, and Jordan to immerse meetings opened up the team’s eyes to a wealth of talent, especially in ICT, that the West Bank has to offer.themselves in three differententrepreneurial ecosystems. In Jordan, Samer Asfour, the Senior Economic Counselor to His Maj- esty, King Abdullah II provided us with an excellent overview of the booming tech sector in Amman. Over the next two days, the delega- tion met with investors, entrepreneurs, and industry facilitators who all made a convincing case to the group that Jordan can be their gate- way to the Arabic-speaking, Middle Eastern market. Participants left with a platinum Rolodex of contacts in all three clus- ters. They also acquired a perspective on the opportunities and chal- lenges involved in doing business in the Middle East. “Being exposed to the differing ecosystems in the region was very interesting. Juxtaposing the Israeli model with the Jordanian model created a very tangible and visible difference in their levels of sophis- tication, government support and general evolution. This was a fan- tastic event!”—Jon Mooney (United States)
INVESTORS FLOCK TO SARAJEVO FOR USAID“SEENOVATE“ ACCESS TO FINANCE EVENTUSAID is attracting investors to At “SEEnnovate,” an Access to Finance Forum in Sarajevo heldopen businesses in the SEE on June 19, 2012 that was organized by RCI in coordinationregion with USAID projects FIRMA, FARMA, PARE, PFS, and RCC, with additional support by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and Centers for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development (CEED), twenty entrepreneurs from Bosnia and Herzegovina presented their businesses to investors who attended the conference. At least two of these presentations will result in investment deals. The event gathered close to 200 participants, including [Insert Photo Credit] representatives of more than 30 international investments funds, some of which were visiting Southeast Europe for the first time. Two of the investment funds present at the event-- Meta Group from Italy and Globe Forum from Sweden-- have decided to expand their businesses in order to support early stage financing instruments in the region, including further developing the venture capital industry and business angels’ networks. The event also announced launch of the Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility Platform (EDIF), a new EUR 142 million (USD 192 million) instrument to support innovative SMEs in the Western Balkans, and the EUR 100 million (USD 192 million) Venture Capital Investment Program (VCIP) for early and growth stage companies operating in theThe event gathered close to technology sector. RCI is actively working with its regional200 participants including partners at the institutional and local levels to prepare them torepresentatives of more than apply for the incoming funding from EDIF.30 international investmentsfunds, some of which werevisiting Southeast Europe forthe first time.
SUCCESS STORY:Western Balkans Geotourism MapGuide PortalPromoting the Western Balkans as a OverviewTourism Destination The Western Balkans (WB) Mapguide website is a regional portal designed by and co-branded with National Geographic. The MapGuide project took one year to complete. It is the first regional joint effort to promote the Western Balkans as a single destination by highlighting the rich natural and cultural wealth of the area. The effort was supported by the USAID RCI project, and was implemented by the National Geographic Maps Division and the Western Balkans Geotourism Stewardship Council (WBGSC). WBGSC is a regional partnership of representatives from the six participating countries - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. WBGSC has assumed ownership of the Mapguide and will be responsible for its continued management. WB Mapguide is an interactive information platform that highlights the natural, culturaland historic attractions of Western BalkansIn June, 2012, the Western Balkans Geotourism destinations. It provides travelers with an online map thatStewardship Council in partnership with National authentically captures and conveys the region through the eyes ofGeographic Maps Division launched in the Western the local people.Balkans Mapguide portal (www.balkansgeotourism.travel) During its first nine months of existence (data as of 4 Marchan effort supported by RCI/ USAID 2013), the portal was visited 28,088 times by 23,826 different people from more than 100 countries. Other data collected about the regional portal include: Most Viewed Pages • 70,268 page-views; 57,446 unique views • The most viewed page is the home page (18%), followed by the Macedonia main page (5%), and the Interactive Map (4%). Geographic Origin • WB Countries – 41.12% • U.K. – 4.6%; Germany – 3.6%; Italy – 2.52%, Netherlands – 2%Just a few months since its launch, Google • US & Canada – 13%demonstrates positive results for the effort– manyattractions uploaded to the portal appear on the first Traffic Sourcepage of search results • 57.34% have come from search engines (keywords includeComments on attractions posted on the portal: “It is not different events and attractions from the region)just for the great canyons of 8 waterfalls and the • 29.36% from sites linking to the WB Mapguide Portal;fantastic rafting experience we had, but through this • 13.30% direct trafficadventure you can really feel the Albanian hospitalityand the spirit of the commitment of the team. U guys WB MapGuide Portalrock! Well come back soon.”; “Hotel Manastir is one ofmost authentic hotel in Macedonia. My Folk Seminar is • 219 nominations in 11 categoriesalways in that hotel every summer.”Success Story: Western Balkans MapGuide Portal