Trade Minister Baroness Fairhead will today (Monday 9 July 2018) announce the expansion of the Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP) in the Western Balkans, as part of plans to establish a long-term partnership with the region.
More than 20 entrepreneurs from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania are expected to attend the 2018 Western Balkans Summit in London, to showcase what they have to offer to the UK market.
In London, emerging businesses will have the opportunity to meet their UK counterparts, build a bridge between the UK and the Western Balkans and spot collaboration opportunities.
THE GEP has already proven to be extremely successful in providing advice to budding entrepreneurs around the world, resulting in 900 entrepreneurs investing in the UK since 2005, creating over 5,000 high quality jobs and raising over £1 billion of venture capital.
Trade Minister Baroness Fairhead said:
The Ministry of International Trade (IDE) is committed to removing barriers to trade and investment, driving growth in emerging markets that will create jobs, improve quality of life and bring prosperity to communities in the UK and around the world.
Thanks to the availability of British expertise, the expansion of the GEP in the Western Balkans is a win-win situation for both the UK economy and that of the six countries involved.
Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Europe, Andrew Mitchell, said:
The opportunities to strengthen trade and investment links with Western Balkan countries represent one of the most exciting emerging opportunities for the UK in Europe.
Considering the importance of trade for the security and economic stability of the Western Balkans region, IDEit is a new impetus for the GEP in the region is a clear example of the type of work I will seek to encourage as Her Majesty’s new Trade Commissioner for Europe.
By strengthening the skills of the region’s entrepreneurs, their businesses will transform into viable propositions that will contribute to the economic prosperity of the Western Balkans region, thereby strengthening the business environment in the six countries.
The UK’s trade in goods and services with the region was worth £2.25 billion in 2016, an increase of 71.7% year-on-year.
The UK is Europe’s leading base for entrepreneurs, with a record nearly £3 billion raised in venture capital in 2017, more than Germany, France and Ireland combined.
THE GEP attracts entrepreneur-led foreign companies with innovative technologies by offering expert advice on how to grow and internationalize their operations.
Entrepreneurs are attracted to the UK because of its competitive tax system, business-friendly regulations, skilled workforce and dynamic financial markets, as well as its key research and investment incentives. development, intellectual property protection, patent development and venture capital investment.