Link Up! Serbia II

#Diaspora and Migrants #Migration and Development

November 2019 to February 2022
Austrian Development Cooperation
Ministry of European Integration of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, Development Agency of Serbia, Regional Development Agency Eastern Serbia, Regional Development Agency – Braničevo-Podunavlje, Regional Economic Development Agency for Šumadija and Pomoravlje, Regional Development Agency “South", Centre for Development of the Jablanica and Pčinja Districts and the Regional Agency for Development and European Integration, Belgrade
Implementing Agency
International Centre for Migration Policy Development


The Link Up! Serbia II project aims to support transnational entrepreneurial activities with and through the Serbian diaspora in DACH countries (Austria, Switzerland, and Germany) by facilitating access to knowledge, networks, and financial resources.
With a long tradition of business cooperation and labour migration to Austria, Germany and Switzerland (DACH), as well as an excellently positioned Serbian market, small and medium enterprises in Serbia have great potential for internationalisation of businesses towards DACH countries. Research carried out by ICMPD has shown that there is an increasingly strong interest among diaspora to invest in Serbia and to support domestic small and medium enterprises in internationalisation.

Project activities and planned outputs

Primary activities planned to achieve the outputs of the project can be summarised as follows:

  1. Mentoring  of small and medium enterprises for facilitating a more successful internationalization to DACH markets;
  2. Creating and piloting of a ‘Diaspora Business Hub’ to support the diaspora in investing and identifying partners in Serbia;
  3. Providing support through  technical assistance to cities and municipalities to create and promote investment opportunities;
  4. Developing an  online business platform to digitise and scale cooperation between Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Serbia with diaspora;
  5. Organizing result-based business meetings with the business diaspora in Serbia (Business Diaspora Days), Austria (Investment Conference), Germany (B2Bs), and Switzerland (Business Summit).

The project aims at facilitating the improvement of skills of domestic entrepreneurs and competitiveness of small and medium enterprises, strengthen capacities of Local Self-Governments (LSGs), Regional Development Agencies, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia to build stronger and more successful mechanisms for business engagement of the diaspora. The project will also ensure an expansion of diaspora engagement through the transfer of knowledge, impact investments, and access to business networks.



Output 1: Improving competitiveness and capacity for diaspora business engagement

Output 1.1: Improving competitiveness and overcoming challenges through mentorship

Using identified key mentorship programmes, at least 130 SMEs raised competitiveness for entering DACH markets through diaspora cooperation, while 150 mentees from vulnerable groups were supported to overcome specific challenges. Two policy proposals and programs on mentorship for internationalization and support for vulnerable groups developed and submitted to the Government and LSGs.

Output 1.2: Improving stakeholder capacities for attracting diaspora investments and business development.

A ‘Diaspora Business Hub’ (DBH), as an integrated stakeholder service network and framework for attracting diaspora investments and business development, developed and piloted through the provision of technical assistance for stakeholders and mentorship. By linking domestic and diaspora companies and facilitating cooperation, the DBH will support the internationalization of local businesses and foster diaspora investments in Serbia.

Output 2: Significantly expanded business cooperation between Serbian SMEs and DACH markets through scaling the use of online platform services and information sections, as well as from implementing business operations and competitive events in Serbia and in DACH countries for encouraging DDI and FDI

Output 2.1: Facilitating direct and sustainable market and value chain access

Business partnerships, investments, and market access for 30 SMEs and 30 targeted vulnerable group members are realized through the online platform services.

Output 2.2: Encourage Diaspora Direct Investment (DDI) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) through business engagement

Four complementary operations in encouraging DDI and business cooperation (targeting investments, matchmaking, crowdfunding promotion, and outsourcing).

Project Website

If you would like to have more information, please visit the project website

ICMPD Director General's statement on Serbian diaspora potential

Project Staff

Marko Pavlović

Project Manager, based in Belgrade, Serbia

Damir Pejić

Diaspora Business Hub (DBH) Manager, based in Belgrade, Serbia

Boško Knežević

Associate Project Officer, based in Vienna, Austria

Snežana Jović

Project Assistant, based in Belgrade, Serbia