Serbia - PMI continues to provide funding for a charitable grant program run by ENECA..

November 19, 2010 - Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) and Serbian nonprofit Economic Expert Community Association (ENECA) announced today, November 18th that they have signed an agreement for PMI to continue funding a charitable grant program, begun by ENECA and PMI in 2009, to help unemployed people start their own small businesses in the Serbian city of Nis where PMI’s DIN “Fabrika Duvana” a.d. Niš (DIN) factory is located.

Since PMI funding for the program began in 2009, 50 unemployed people in Nis have successfully started their own businesses, and these businesses are already employing more than 80 people. PMI’s 2010 grant aims to target an additional 50 unemployed people to receive small-business start-up grants.

Said Area Director South East Europe, Skip Bornhuetter, “As one of Nis’ largest employers, we are very pleased to contribute to the community by funding the ENECA initiative that promotes entrepreneurship”.

ENECA’s program involves a careful selection process to choose unemployed beneficiaries based on the viability of businesses proposals submitted to ENECA. Once a recipient’s project is approved, ENECA provides the recipient with business training and a grant to cover 80% of the capital start-up cost for the business in the form of equipment and supplies. Grant recipients must cover 20% of the remaining capital costs to ensure their continued motivation and commitment, and must also give back to the community in the form of 15 hours of community service in their area of expertise.

“This program squarely addresses job creation, which is my number one critical priority”, said Nis Mayor, Miloš Simonovic. “The ENECA/PMI partnership is a great example of how a public-private partnership can effectively train and empower people to succeed.”

Said ENECA Director, Masa Bubanj: “This initiative is creating new businesses. Every new business that succeeds will create jobs for people. And when people have jobs they will buy goods and services from local businesses which in turn will multiply into more economic activity and more jobs.”

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Reference: Program to Empower Jobless to Create Small Businesses in Serbia Receives Grant from Philip Morris International, Source: Philip Morris International, 11/18/2010.

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