Companies in the metal processing industry from the area of Central Bosnia will receive support for business development as well as for strengthening their innovative capacities and competitiveness. The Center for Digitization, Innovation, and Competitiveness of the Metal Industry “CeDICo”, which was opened today in Zenica, will support small and medium enterprises in the field of digitalization, development of new products, and creation of new jobs by applying modern equipment and digital tools.
The center will operate on the premises of the Faculty of Economics UNZE, and it was opened as part of the EU4Business project funded by the European Union, to strengthen the economy of BiH. The center will focus on the digital transformation of companies’ operations, and initiate the digital transformation of the labor market. As a result, the target companies will increase their exports and sales and increase market competitiveness. At the press conference organized today in Zenica, the main goals of the “CeDICo” project, planned activities, as well as partners were presented.
“I think that the realization of this project and the opening of this Center represents the beginning of advocating the process of introducing innovations, digitalization in the segment of the metal industry, which is certainly a significant challenge. Our donors, the EU, and the German Government have recognized our idea and vision to improve this sector by following certain challenges and modern trends when it comes to digital business transformation that inevitably requires significant investment in technology transfers and application of modern information and communication technologies based on specific knowledge, and this Center through its three departments for innovation, digitalization and competitiveness will aim to work in the coming period to improve the position of our export-oriented companies in this area, ” said Prof. Dr. Alaudin Brkić, Dean of the Faculty of Economics at the University of Zenica, project leader.
The project lasts 18 months, and the total value of the project is 736,000 KM, out of which the European Union finances 530,000 KM. The leading implementer of the project is the Faculty of Economics UNZE, in cooperation with the Faculty of Law and Metallurgy and Technology, and the Chambers of Commerce of FBiH, ZDK, and SBK.
Mirsad Jašarspahić, Vice President of the FBIH Chamber of Commerce pointed out that the members who function through the Association of Chambers of Commerce will be users of the Center and that the project is an exceptional example of how companies from different sectors can compensate for the lack of their capacities through projects like these. „What I would like to point out is that it is interesting that just today, the Innovation Center, the Innovation Council of the European Union, was formed at the EU level, which has a budget of 10 billion euros in the next 6 years. On the same date when this center was opened. It only shows that University Zenica, Chambers of Commerce, and business entities that will be users of the Center are on the right path, ” said Jašarspahić.
Spahija Kozlić, Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Zenica-Doboj Canton pointed out that the Center is a great example of closing the triangle between public authorities on the one hand and the economy on the other, in particular the Chambers of Commerce and educational institutions. He also added: “If you look at the mission of University Zenica, you will see that one of the tasks of the University is to serve the community, not only in the field of markets but also in creating conditions for the improvement of the community”
EU4Business is the European Union’s project aiming to strengthen Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capacity for economic growth and employment by fostering competitiveness and innovation in selected sectors. EU4Business is worth EUR 16.1, out of which 15 million is funded by the European Union and the EUR 1.1 million funded by the Federal Republic of Germany. The project is jointly implemented by GIZ, UNDP, and ILO, from April 2018 to March 2022. EU4Business is part of the Local Self-Government and Economic Development Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina supported by the German Government.