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WHAT IS GROWBIZ?

APPLY NOW!

GrowBiz is an exciting new initiative implemented by LinkAcross and co-funded by USAID’s Economic Development, Governance and Enterprise Growth Project to help your tourism, agriculture, or manufacturing business in North Macedonia or Albania grow and increase sales. The primary goal of this program is to help you create and implement a business growth plan. We do this by pairing you with an experienced business coach from the U.S. who you will meet with online regularly over the course of a year.

We supplement the executive coaching with online access to our set of core trainings on business growth planning, market research, digital marketing and more. Also as part of GrowBiz you will receive digital marketing consulting, video production assistance, and select access to relevant industry experts to those participants who want to take advantage of it. 

GrowBiz is funded and supported by USAID as part of its Economic Development, Governance and Enterprise Growth Project, which launched in 2020. It is implemented by LinkAcross, a U.S. NGO with local offices in Macedonia and Albania with over 10 years of experience in the region.

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Key features and benefits of GrowBiz:

  • Over 20 hours of one-on-one executive coaching / mentoring with experienced business people from the U.S. and the region to create and begin implementing your business growth plan. This plan will serve as a roadmap for your business going forward and can be shared with relevant stakeholders, including investors.

  • Customized digital marketing audit and recommendations and production of a short promotional video for your business, as appropriate.

  • Access to over 15 hours of online core training covering best practices in strategic management, market research, digital marketing, branding, customer and employee satisfaction, environmental sustainability, and social responsibility.

  • Additional 8 hours of elective seminars and workshops focused on issues specific to the agriculture, tourism and light manufacturing sectors. 

GrowBiz is flexible and implementable in a COVID-19 environment. A combination of virtual and in-person meeting options allow for the highest possible quality, while minimizing health risks.

 
 
 
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WHO CAN PARTICIPATE IN GROWBIZ?

GrowBiz is open to small or medium (SME) businesses registered in North Macedonia or Albania in the following sectors:

 

  • Agriculture and Agricultural Processing

  • Eco, Adventure and Rural Tourism

  • Apparel and Textile Manufacturing

  • Wood Manufacturing

 

In order to qualify you must meet the USAID definition of an SME as follows:

  • Small: 11 - 50 full-time employees*

  • Medium: 51 - 250 full-time employees

Note that part-time or seasonal employees can be converted to full-time equivalents (FTEs) to count toward the minimum number of employees for the program.
 

* Due to the current economic situation, your business may be able to qualify with less than 11 full-time employees. If you are unsure if you meet the program requirements or would like to request an exception, please contact us to discuss your specific situation.

Also you must have a working knowledge of English, as all coaching sessions and activities will be conducted in English.

 
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HOW DOES GROWBIZ WORK?

Business Growth Plan and Executive Coaching

As part of your application to GrowBiz you are required to complete a business growth plan concept. Businesses that demonstrate the greatest potential for growth will be selected for acceptance into the program.

If you are accepted, you will immediately be paired with an experienced executive business coach from the U.S. who will meet with you virtually every two weeks from February - May 2021 to help you develop your business growth plan. You will write the plan, and your coach will assist you through the process with questions, feedback, and ideas. Also, in some cases (depending on the nature of your business), we may be able to provide additional industry expert assistance.

Once your plan is ready, you will continue to meet regularly with your executive coach from June - November 2021 to begin implementing your plan. Also, you will participate in industry-specific peer-to-peer coaching sessions where you can network, share, and troubleshoot with others.

Customized Marketing and Video Production Assistance

As part of GrowBiz you will be eligible to receive a digital marketing audit for your business, should you so desire. A marketing consultant will meet with you to understand and evaluate your digital marketing efforts and offer suggestions for improvement. Finally, if appropriate and needed for your business growth plan, we will help you produce up to a 3-minute promotional video for your business. This marketing assistance will occur from June - November 2021 based on a mutually agreeable schedule.

Online Access to Core Business Trainings

Also included in GrowBiz is online access to videos of the following core business trainings taught by U.S. and local business experts specifically for GrowBiz clients:

 

  • Core 1: Strategic Management for Growth and Creating a Business Growth Plan that Works

  • Core 2: Market Research Strategies to Assess Value for Your Customers

  • Core 3: Digital Marketing and Branding that Actually Connects with Your Customers

  • Core 4: Customer Satisfaction and Employee Engagement as Drivers of Growth

  • Core 5: Environmental Sustainability and Social Responsibility - Business that is Good for Planet, People and Profit

 

Each online training lasts about 3 hours and is accompanies by slide presentations. The Core 1 training on business growth planning is required for all participants. Your coach may recommend other trainings based on your specific situation. 

Additional Elective Training Topics

Additional elective training topics related to the growth plan you are developing will also be offered during March and April 2021. Participants are required to select and attend two of these elective trainings. Depending on participant needs, possible elective topics may include:

  • Elective 1: Developing and Refining an Export Strategy

  • Elective 2: Overview of Current Financing and Funding Opportunities

  • Elective 3: Growth Opportunities in Rural and Adventure Tourism

  • Elective 4: Lean Manufacturing in Textiles and Wood Processing

  • Elective 5: Growth Opportunities in Organics and Agricultural Processing

  • Elective 6: Improving Inventory Planning and Control

  • Elective 7: Information Technology and E-Commerce Solutions

  • Elective 8: Streamlining Operations through Process Improvement

 
 
 
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FEES AND CONDITIONS

 

This program is funded through a combination of USAID support and participant fees. The participant fees are as follows:

  • Small businesses: 360 Euros

  • Medium businesses: 540 Euros

The participation fee may be divided into two equal payments, should the participant so choose.

Please keep the following conditions in mind:

  • Small businesses are defined as having 11-50 full-time employees, with medium businesses having 51-250 employees. See eligibility criteria above.

  • One senior-level representative must commit to attend all of the coaching sessions with the executive coach. Additional senior leaders from the company may also participate, as desired.

  • Small businesses are allowed to send up to two representatives per training or event, while medium businesses can send up to three representatives.

  • All company representatives in the program should be senior-level directors or managers with decision-making authority.

APPLICATION

If this program seems like a good fit for your business, start the application process online today! The application contains two sections. The first section includes baseline information about your company. The second section is the business growth concept. If it is easier you can download the template for the business growth proposal and then copy/paste into the form or email the completed proposal to growbiz@linkacross.org.

 

Developing the growth concept requires focused time and attention and is the most important part of your application. The preferred language for the application is English; however applications in Macedonian and Albanian will also be accepted.

Spots in this program are limited and applications will be processed in the order they are received. After your application is received we will contact you for a short interview as part of the application process.

If you are accepted into the program, your spot is not guaranteed until payment is received. If the participation fee is divided into two equal payments, the second payment is due by March 31, 2021. All fees are paid in local currency to LinkAcross North Macedonia or LinkAcross Albania according to the local exchange rate.

Please contact us by email growbiz@linkacross.org or by phone below to learn more and discuss your specific situation.

Mihajlo Trajkoski  +389 76 45 08 85  (MK)

Marko Hallidri      +355 69 619 8788 (AL)

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