Increasing Market Employability

Project completed

North Macedonia’s economy is characterised by one of the highest unemployment rate in Europe (21%, for youth 46%) and a high share of people in relative poverty (22%). The Increasing Market Employability programme aims to address these issues by creating jobs and increasing income. It contributes to improvement of the quality of products and services, expansion of markets, and creation of an enabling environment in the Sustainable Agribusiness, Adventure Tourism, and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sectors.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
North Macedonia
Employment & economic development
Employment creation
SME development
01.08.2019 - 30.06.2024
CHF  5’806’000
Background The Macedonian economy remains far behind the economy of other European countries. It failed to grow at a pace required to absorb the high unemployment, which results in a significant brain drain and poverty. Nevertheless, if systemic constraints are addressed, some sectors (Sustainable Agribusiness, Adventure Tourism, and ICT) show good prospects for accelerated growth, which would result in job generation and higher income.
Objectives More unemployed and underemployed, in particular youth and women, are engaged in sustainable, decent employment or self-employment and/or are earning higher incomes.
Target groups The end beneficiaries are the unemployed and underemployed, especially youth and women. The project enhances their opportunity for decent jobs and increased income. The project targets SMEs (producers and service providers) in the three selected sectors and stakeholders that contribute to a more conducive business environment i.e. associations, government agencies, business service providers, financial service providers, accelerators, NGOs, education providers, etc.
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: Companies in the selected sectors grow by improving products and services and expanding markets

Outcome 2: Improved services and policy and regulatory framework are conducive to companies’ growth in the selected sectors

Outcome 3: Companies provide more attractive and inclusive working conditions for employees, particularly youth and women


Expected results:  

- More than 2’700 jobs and CHF 26 million of additional earning income for un- or under- employed

- Net additional profit of CHF 2 million for SMEs;

- Access to CHF 40 million of funding for 250 firms

- Use of business development services by more than 500 firms/individuals

- Incentives to employ women and/or youth introduced by 25 firms

Results from previous phases:   IME Phase 1 contributed to 2,300+ jobs, of which 1,150 occupied by youth, 870 occupied by women and 600 occupied by rural population. The most significant results were achieved in the tourism and hospitality, organic agriculture and IT sectors, and less in the sustainable building and product design sectors. In preparation for Phase 2, in 2018 and early 2019, an implementing partner was selected through an open tender, the project implementation unit was established, and analyses and stakeholders consultations to inform the design of Phase 2 were carried out.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
Private sector
  • Other international or foreign NGO North
  • Foreign private sector North

Coordination with other projects and actors SDC: Education for Employment, Creating Job Opportunities for All, Nature Conservation Programme, SECO: SIPPO, Swiss EP; USAID: BEP; Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Ministries of Economy, Information Society, Agriculture, etc.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    5’806’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    5’899’934 Total project since first phase Budget inclusive project partner CHF   16’000’000
Project phases

Phase 2 01.08.2019 - 30.06.2024   (Completed)

Phase 1 01.11.2013 - 31.07.2019   (Completed)