Two most successful projects from Montenegro being proposed for financing in the Second call of Regional Challenge Fund, allocating approximately 693,000 Euros for the investments in equipment, infrastructure and training at the vocational training institutes implementing cooperative training.
11th May, 2023, Podgorica – The Regional Challenge Fund (RCF) organised the Second National Grant Award Ceremony in Montenegro to share the Second call results and award the grants to winning consortia.
The Award Ceremony took place at the Chamber of Commerce of Montenegro and gathered the officials from the WB6 CIF, German Embassy, KfW, Ministry of education, Regional Challenge Fund and the awarded consortia from Monenegro to mark the success.
Grants were given to two consortiums: one led by the Faculty of International Management in Tourism and Hospitality and including Karisma Hotels Adriatic Montenegro, Blue Kotor Bay, and One & Only Portonovi; and another led by the Danilovgrad Police Academy and including MMK Control, Titan Security, Guardian World, and Sab Security.
The second round of applications attracted 123 Expressions of Interest from Western Balkan 6. Out of this number, 7 EoIs were received from Montenegro. The Selection Committee’s decision about the funds available for the second call resulted in 2 most successful projects from Montenegro being proposed for financing, allocating approximately 693,000 Euros for the investments in equipment, infrastructure, and training at the vocational training institutes implementing cooperative training.
Regional Challenge Fund (RCF) project coordinator Mr. Balša Ćulafić, on behalf of the Chamber Investment Forum WB6, explained that the RCF is a financial mechanism that provides investments in chosen cooperative training programs undertaken through partnerships between vocational education institutes and enterprises in six Western Balkan economies, to promote youth employability and boost company competitiveness.
He expressed gratitude to Germany for appointing CIF WB6 as the RCF coordinator and for its ongoing and forthcoming support of the initiatives now underway in Montenegro.
– The Regional Challenge Fund will further assist the establishment of partnerships between educational institutes and companies and provide momentum behind educational reforms, said Mr. Ćulafić, while adding that this is an initiative of undeniable significance for economic growth.
Montenegrin Chamber of Commerce President Mrs. Nina Drakić was overjoyed to learn that two projects from Montenegro involving seven businesses and two educational institutions had been selected by regional expert commissions to receive a total of about 700,000 euros in project funding to help them achieve their shared goal of increased employability through higher levels of vocational education.
– Through the funding of investments in equipment and infrastructure for cooperative education projects implemented in partnership with educational institutions and companies, the grants we are discussing today strengthen the competitiveness of companies in the economies of the Western Balkans, stressed Mrs. Drakić.
A developing economy under the influence of new technologies and market conditions necessitates and implies an educational system that is constantly improved and adapted to the needs of the times, so such projects are crucial not only for Montenegro but for the entire region of the Western Balkans, she argues. Professionals will need to acquire and demonstrate new competencies as a result of digitalization, automation, AI, and other consumer demands.
– Therefore, in order for our economy to remain competitive, new knowledge and new staff energy, new specialized professional staff, are required. Our economy may grow through these and comparable processes, which will benefit the European Union and the rest of the region.
She noted that the incoming grants in Montenegro will benefit educational institutes and businesses in the tourist, services, and security sectors, and that it is heartening to see that even smaller businesses are interested in bolstering their cooperation with educational institutions.
Mrs. Drakić summed up the significance of this initiative by saying, “This is not just an investment, nor is it just a short-term project; this is at the same time a strong message for young people, who, empowered with basic skills acquired on modern equipment in schools, later go to companies, motivated to put their improved theoretical and technical knowledge and skills into the function of further career development.”
H.E. Mr. Peter Felten, the German Ambassador to Montenegro, was pleased that Germany was able to help this initiative through investments in equipment and, more importantly, in expertise via KfW.
– This will give young people in Montenegro a chance and a professional perspective, and provide employers with a good new workforce, said he and urged the country’s youth to take advantage of the many opportunities available to them so that the country’s talent pool isn’t siphoned off elsewhere. According to the ambassador, the high unemployment rate and the need for skilled workers in Montenegro create a paradox that can be resolved with the help of the RCF.
Through a dual system that has been successful in Germany and contributed to economic growth, he claims that RCF and KfW aim to encourage professions and knowledge and strike a balance between theory and practice.
He lauded the applicants and awardees, and extended gratitude to WB6, the Chamber Investment Forum in particular, and to President Drakić for expert leadership and cooperation.
– Since your powerful voice represents the strong voice of the Montenegrin economy, working with you is always a smart idea, Mr. Felten told.
Director of the Directorate for General, Secondary, Tertiary, and Lifelong Education Mr. Slobodan Savović highlighted cooperation between the Ministry of Education and the Chamber of Commerce in streamlining educational policies and laws governing the field. The goal, he says, is to provide quality education so that employees and employers are both satisfied and relieve pressure on the Employment Agency.
This project and education institutions are overseen by the Ministry of Education in order to improve the quality of the project’s documentation.
Mr. Savović remarked that the next challenge would be to “promote this and other projects more towards the north of the country” so that there would be a greater number of high-quality secondary schools represented.
The third call of the Regional Challenge Fund was announced after May 22.
Photos from the event see on RCF social media: Facebook or LinkedIn.
A short film about the winners was also shown at the event:
The Regional Challenge Fund (RCF) is a financing facility designed to increase youth employability and boost the competitiveness of enterprises in Western Balkan 6 by funding investments in selected cooperative training projects that are implemented through partnerships between vocational training institutes and the enterprises. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development commissioned 64.43 million EUR for the RCF, and the Swiss Government, represented by the SDC Swiss Development Cooperation, co-financed an additional 9.7 million CHF. The funds were commissioned to the KfW Development Bank and executed by the Western Balkans 6 Chamber Investment Forum (WB6-CIF), a joint initiative of chambers of commerce from the region.
For any further inquiries, feel free to contact the RCF representative Balsa Culafic at firstname.lastname@example.org