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One of the preferred ways of expanding the business for many companies from the Western Balkans 6 (WB6) region is export. In order to perform well, companies need to be prepared for all its aspects and very often turn to Chambers of Commerce for support in this regard.

The project “Increase of export potential of SME in the WB6 region” implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH – the Open Regional Fund for Foreign Trade – commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development tackled this need of companies. In close cooperation with the Chambers of Commerce from the WB6 countries gathered around the WB6 Chambers Investments Forum, a new tool “Export Readiness Assessment (ERA)” has been developed.

With this tool, the chambers can offer a new service to assist companies to assess their state of readiness for export. As ERA is an online tool in a form of a questionnaire with questions covering the most relevant elements of export, the company can also perform self-assessment and get a clear picture on its export readiness as well as find out what are the main obstacles to assuming exporting business.

The tool was piloted in the WB6 region in the sector of fruit and vegetable processing as a sector which is of relevance for all economies of the region. So far, approx. 144 companies were assessed and the results presented on the regional and national level. Moreover, each company has received individual feedback on its performance pointing out the main fields the company should work on to perform better or undertake first steps towards export.

The tool designed for the selected sector of fruit and vegetable processing can be upgraded with additional questions to reach a wider group of companies. Furthermore, it is designed so it can be revised and adjusted and eventually be replicated for an assessment in any other sector relevant for each economy of the WB6 region.

The ERA tool was handed over to the WB6 Chambers of Commerce as an addition to their existing service portfolio.

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