EBRD, EU Help Makprogres Compete Internationally
By Stasha Igrutinovic
Makprogres is one of North Macedonia’s major confectioners, specialising in a wide assortment of sweets, snacks, grains and health food. This year, it celebrates 30 years of business, continuous learning and investment to keep up with its clients’ changing tastes and preferences. Together, the EBRD and the European Union (EU) supported Makprogres along its path to growth, competitiveness and success.
Small businesses think big
The Cvetanov family first established Makprogres as a food trading business in the small town of Vinica, North Macedonia, where terracotta-tiled roofs nestle between hills and fields. With a spoonful of ambition, a pinch of business acumen and a sprinkle of faith, the company invested a few years later in a cake factory to jumpstart its new food processing business.
Expanding its facilities allowed the confectioner to introduce new products and brands – including the sweets line Vincinni, for which it is best known.
But a growth model based on sustained innovation and investment presented management with new challenges. The company needed to address efficiency gaps in manufacturing and resource use to grow its exports and better position itself in the domestic market.
Innovating for success
With support from the EU, the EBRD assigned the firm an international expert to advise on operations, brand quality and design. The successful completion of the project saw Makprogres strengthen its productivity, introduce best practices in quality control and become one of North Macedonia’s biggest food exporters.
As an ambitious leader, Makprogres was awarded membership of the EBRD’s Blue Ribbon – a support programme targeting firms with high potential for growth. Under Blue Ribbon’s guidance, the business scaled up with help from international experts specialising in an array of advisory areas from marketing to operations.
Promoting sustainable food production
Recently, Makprogres’ efforts to strengthen its energy efficiency have received support from the EBRD and the Enterprise Expansion Fund (ENEF), one of the pillars of the EU’s Western Balkan Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF). Joint financing will help the company install solar panels to reduce energy costs, along with new production equipment.
‘’We’re committed to increasing our export activities in the international market and continuing to invest in energy efficiency, productivity and automation to remain competitive,’’ says CEO of Makprogres, Gligor Cvetanov.
Makprogres is now well-equipped to head straight to the sweets lab to concoct new ways of satisfying its clients’ insatiable taste buds.