Balkan Small Business Association – a Union of Business Representative Organisations in the Skilled Crafts Sector in South-East Europe
The ‚Balkan Bureau’-project started in 2001 as a regional project of the Koblenz Chamber of Skilled Crafts, financially supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The Office was a kind of continuation and extension of the chamber projects with the partner organisations of the skilled crafts middle class in several Balkan countries, and it strove to foster the development in the separate countries through active cooperation between the organisations in South-East Europe and Germany.
The project work with the organisations sought synergy effects to be used for further project execution. After completing the first project phase the project work focused on new accents and the emphasis was laid on project sustainability. In order to serve this aim the BSBA was registered as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) with an office in Sofia, and it united organisations of skilled crafts from several Balkan countries.
According to its statute, the Balkan Small Business Association has the following aims:
1. Supporting its members’ efforts for a better positioning of the skilled crafts sector in the region at the political and social dialogue level;
2. Improving the status of the skilled crafts sector in South-East Europe and establishing the modern European concepts of skilled crafts and crafts production in the region;
3. Assisting its members of the skilled crafts sector in growing out of the region and coming on the European common market;
4. Supporting the sector’s efforts in improving the quality of handicraft production, in fostering and promoting the innovations in the skilled crafts in the region and in applying best practices from EU member states;
5. Assisting its members in implementing a modern, practically oriented and relevant system for vocational training and qualification.
The BSBA is developing as a regional network for exchange of information and experience in its members’ interest. In SEE-countries the Balkan Bureau organizes conferences and seminars on topics important for the skilled crafts sector, expert workshops, it also regularly informs its members about fairs, exhibitions, workshops and trainings for craft enterprises, for crafts persons.
In addition, the BSBA has an important facilitating and mediating function in the search for cooperation possibilities and in establishing contacts between enterprises both from the region and from Europe, it also offers advisory services and technical expertise.
The Balkan Middle Class Office unites at present 31 partner organisations from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria,Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Romania and Serbia.
As a result of the good and productive cooperation between the crafts organizations in SEE were the Laws of the Crafts in Bulgaria and Macedonia developed and adopted, the draft-laws in Romania and Montenegro are expecting approval of their parliaments.
The BSBA is continually launching diverse initiatives in the interest of the skilled crafts sector, serving for its better status in South East Europe.