However, many small to medium size companies (SMEs) in North Macedonia often have difficulties obtaining certificates - because of lack of finance or the absence of an ecosystem that can support them from the start to finish of the certification process.
The Swiss Increasing Market Employability Programme - IME offers SMEs from the three target sectors in North Macedonia – Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Sustainable Agribusiness, and Adventure Tourism - the chance to acquire company-level certifications. Through its Pay-for-Performance (P4P) instrument, IME co-funds the certification and guidance expenses, while companies can choose to work with endorsed certification consultants and bodies from IME P4P catalogue.
Full certification cycle support
Similarly, to many other ICT companies, the COVID-19 pandemic has not withheld Hoyo Tech, a fast-growing local IT company, from the intention to verify the quality of their products and services. Hoyo Tech offers sensors and other data exchange technology and information security standards are set by their potential clients. Initially working with the Swiss market, they then connected with clients from the Netherlands. “We needed to meet the ISO/IEC 27001 information security standard to meet the new clients’ requirements.” says Dashmir Istrefi, co-founder and owner of the company.
A triple-win situation
For Evrosimovski Consulting, the remote audit with Hoyo Tech served as a pilot of their online services, and its success encouraged them to start offering this service to other clients in their Skopje and Belgrade offices, as director Mihajlo Evrosimovski shares.
T-CERT SISTEMS account for “a 30% increase in interest for certification among Macedonian tech companies” compared with this time last year, and since joining as one of IME’s P4P partners, as Zorica Smilevska of T-CERT SISTEM has shared. This has resulted in the certification provider’s overall sales growth.
So far, more than ten ICT companies have obtained or are in the process of obtaining certification for various company-level standards through IME’s P4P instrument. Obtaining these certifications is estimated to lead to an increase of approximately CHF 1,000,000 in their total sales, which is around 20% higher compared to the pre-certification period. This support helps create an ecosystem with higher demand and supply for certification services, better prepared business support service providers, and increased awareness of the importance of certification among tech companies.
The Swiss Increasing Market Employability Programme will continue supporting the Information and Communication Technology sector in North Macedonia to develop innovative and value-added tech products and services, become more competitive domestically and abroad, and create sustainable jobs for high-skilled labour force, especially for women and youth. To learn more about the P4P and other instruments of support, visit www.ime.org.mk