Local will never go out of style: ILO supports the textile industry in Bosnia and Herzegovina to offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
The European Union-funded ILO project EU4Business Recovery provides financial and technical assistance to 29 textile companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina supporting women entrepreneurs, young people and other vulnerable workers. With this support, the textile companies managed to grow and create jobs even during the pandemic.
CatWalk from Bosnia and Herzegovina showcases its brand at the #MadeInBiH fashion show in September 2022 ©ILO
Textile companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina were facing numerous challenges during the pandemic. Orders and sales significantly dropped, and supply chains were disrupted, making the purchase of raw materials too difficult from early February 2020. The industry estimates that that every third job lost during the pandemic in the country occurred in the textile sector.
The European Union-funded project EU4Business Recovery provides financial and technical support to the textile industry in Bosnia and Herzegovina mitigating the impact of the pandemic on sales and jobs. ILO is one of the implementing agencies supporting 29 local companies in the textile business including clothing, leather and footwear production. Project support includes purchasing new equipment and raw materials, productivity training based on the ILO SCORE training package, and access to new markets. At a recently organized fashion show in Banja Luka ILO met with some of the companies that benefitted from the EU4Business Recovery Program.
CatWalk achieved more than planned
Established in 2012, CatWalk from Sarajevo has specialized in women’s clothing and runs a retail store in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“The project has significantly improved our business and helped us overcome the negative effects of the years spent in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Ema Burdžović, CEO of CatWalk. Crucial contributions from the project were support in starting to export to the European Union, opening a web-shop, as well as a new retail store in the region. “We are launching our new product line – swimsuits - and have improved our production processes by purchasing software for clothes design,” Ema continues listing the company’s accomplishments. Originally, the management planned to create five new jobs with the project support. Ema proudly points out that that aim was not only achieved but eventually exceeded. “With the support we received from the ILO, we doubled the number of our workers, from 12 to 24”.
Brand Sana Linea from Bosnia and Herzegovina showcases its work on #MadeInBiH fashion show in September 2022 ©ILO
Ten new jobs for Sana Linea
Another company supported by the project is Sana Linea, a textile company with a long history from Kostajnica, northern BiH. Established in 1947, the company currently employs 74 workers and is an entirely women-led business. They have 13 retail stores across Bosnia and Herzegovina, and two in Serbia.
“Through this support, we managed to modernize our production by purchasing special machinery and hired 10 new workers. We also developed our web shop and webpage so we can reach out to new customers. We have started exporting to EU,” says Marijana Bučevac, CEO of Sana Linea.
#MadeInBiH fashion show in September 2022 ©ILO
About the project: The ILO, in partnership with the German Development Agency (GIZ) and UNDP implements an EU-funded project “COVID-19 Investment Response – EU4Business Recovery“ to support the recovery of BiH economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The overall objective of the project is to provide emergency support to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to ensure their business continuity, retain more than 1,000 jobs, and create at least 100 new jobs, especially supporting women entrepreneurs, young people and other vulnerable groups.