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Business optimism in Serbia is encouraging

Tuesday, 13.12.2016.
Belgrade, 13 December 2016 – Business and investment optimism among small and medium enterprises in Serbia is very positive and promising for 2017, especially for businesses cooperating with German companies. This is the forecast of the ProOptimist Index developed by ProCredit Bank in cooperation with the market research company GFK.  
According to the research, 52.6% of small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs (SMEE) are optimistic about the business and economic climate in Serbia for 2017; the percentage is even larger for businesses that cooperate with German companies: more than 63% are expecting better business results in 2017. (Last year the figure was 57.8%.) 
The results of this year’s ProOptimist Index show that the majority of SMEEs are expecting profits similar to those achieved in 2016. However, 59% of the businesses cooperating with German companies have even more optimistic expectations for 2017 regarding profit. 
In addition, businesses are expecting to provide new jobs and increase employee salaries in 2017. The research also indicates that every fourth SMEE in Serbia is planning to hire new staff and increase the salaries of existing employees, whereas 36% of SMEEs which are cooperating with German companies are planning to hire new staff and 21.5% intend to increase employee salaries. 
“Our last ProOptimist index results describe current business trends in Serbia, and these results are confirmed in our everyday cooperation with domestic companies and entrepreneurs. Today we are living in a highly challenging environment, but I really think that the fact that approximately 30% of all companies in Serbia are planning to invest during 2017, which wasn’t the situation earlier, is very encouraging for us. Besides that, every third company in Serbia thinks that 2017 will be a good year for development and almost 50% of all companies and entrepreneurs in Serbia believe that banks loans will be much more favourable in 2017 than they were in this year,” explained Igor Anic, member of the ProCredit Bank Executive Board.
According to Borislav Kostadinov, Chairman of the ProCredit Bank Board of Directors, ProCredit Bank Serbia will continue to provide intensive support towards the development of SMEs in Serbia. To this end, ProCredit Bank will try to spread business optimism among entrepreneurs, but also to help companies make new investments, create new jobs and find new business opportunities. 
The ProOptimist Index represents research which ProCredit Bank has organised four years in the row. The chief aim of this project is to discover and understand the main expectations of companies and entrepreneurs in Serbia, but also to identify the primary challenges that they are facing. This year the research included 360 entrepreneurs and decision-makers in Serbian small and medium businesses, of which 180 cooperate with German companies.