DOT-COM Activity: Macedonia - e-BIZ - ICTs for Local Economic Activity Development
Short Description: The e- BIZ Project provides an innovative model for helping small and medium enterprises ( SMEs ) use information and communication technology ( ICT ) to strengthen their businesses. It partners with Macedonian entrepreneurs to offer high impact ICT solutions that significantly improve SMEs' competitiveness.
Phase/Type of Activity: Signed Award Status: Completed
Start date: September 26, 2003 End Date: June 30, 2006
Partners: Education Development Center
Person(s) to contact
Janice Brodman , IE Technical Director
Education Development Center
Tel: (617) 618-2620
Full Description: A year ago, experts pronounced the Macedonia apparel industry -- hundreds of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and thousands of jobs dead in five years. Today, these experts have credited the USAID Macedonia e-BIZ Project with breathing new life into the industry, and potentially saving and/or generating thousands of jobs over the next few years. The e-BIZ Project is providing similar lifeline to SMEs in other industries/clusters. Through strategic use of high impact information and communication technologies (ICTs), the e-BIZ approach resolves a decades-old dilemma: How to get concrete impact on companies bottom line and scope.
In Macedonia, the e-BIZ team collaborated with the USAID mission to create an activity that has broken new ground, drawn commendation from industry experts, demonstrated success with SME customers, and is positioned to have a significant impact on the competitiveness of entire industries. The e-BIZ approach employs five key steps:
1. Start with demand.
2. Identify "high impact" ICT applications that will quickly and significantly help SMEs in an entire industry to compete more successfully.
3. Partner with local entrepreneurs, who co-invest to create e-Biz Centers.
4. Base e-BIZ Centers on a solid business plan, with high impact applications as the core offerings.
5. Develop the capacity of the e-Biz Centers.
Eight e-BIZ Centers serve entire industries in Macedonia:
National Tourism Portal Has already generated more demand than the industry can handle. Aims to foster 30%/year growth of international tourism into Macedonia.
Apparel Technology Center Offers computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) services enabling apparel manufacturers to compete in new, higher value-added market niches. According to Industry experts, will make a "quantum difference" that could save thousands of jobs in the next couple of years.
Footwear Technology Center Provides CAD/CAM services that enable Macedonia shoe manufacturing companies to design, produce and sell higher-margin products; will help generate thousands of high value-added jobs in the next couple of years. Helped attract over $2 million in foreign direct investment.
Online Management Training Center - Uses ICT to offer high quality management training to SMEs across Macedonia, addressing a key constraint to SME growth.
Digital Media Center of Excellence Helps digital media ICT companies compete in fast-growing international animation and film production markets.
Fashion Industry e-Commerce Center - Provides modern ICT-based sales and marketing solutions the fashion industry companies need to compete in international markets.
Engineering Center of Excellence Offers advanced technology skills that have opened major new international markets to the tool-and-die industry. Established business partnerships with Slovenian companies that will bring significant new business and foreign direct investment to Macedonia.
SEEU Business Services Center - Provides internship opportunities for students, and consulting opportunities for faculty at the Southeastern European University, while providing ICT-for-business services to price- sensitive local companies.
e-BIZ Centers achieved impressive results in their first year of operations:
e-BIZ is a unique GDA project, attracting matching funds of over $1,000,000 from local entrepreneurs who invested in, own and run the e-BIZ Centers
e-BIZ Centers served 350 SMEs and are positioned to serve 1,500 SMEs, representing at least 35,000 jobs over next 2 years
More than half SME customers report e-BIZ Centers have already improved their competitiveness
Industry experts predict e-BIZ Centers will create or save 10,000 20,000 jobs in the next three years
e-BIZ Centers have attracted over $2 million of foreign direct investment
e-BIZ Centers have a revenue base that supports sustainability
Development Sector(s): Enterprise Development, Technology Transfer
ICT Intervention(s): ICT and Women, Web site/portal
Links and Files:
- eBIZ project web site: http://http://www.ebiz.org.mk
The project web site provides additional details about the project in Macedonian (with an English version).
- e-Biz: A New Approach
Presentation prepared by Janice Brodman (EDC) for a Brown Bag event at the World Bank on November 29, 2005. The presentation provides an overview of the eBiz project in Macedonia. [This is a PDF file with no pictures]
- Project Brief - E-BIZ - A New Approach to Building SME Competitiveness
Project brief prepared for the March 2006 TAG meeting. Provides an overview of the project, with early results and lessons learned.