Bosnia Fostering Interventions for Rapid Advancement (FIRMA)
Under the FIRMA project, JAA worked directly with numerous institutions supporting private sector development including: trade associations, the industry committees, Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and a national council on competitiveness for tourism, light manufacturing, and wood processing industries. With a mandate for workforce development, JAA carried out workforce gap analysis between demand (private firms) and supply (academia).
Additionally, JAA organized individual meetings together with RDA representatives, vis-à-vis principal public educational institutions & ministries to discuss FIRMA’s support for workforce development in the three sectors, frame curriculum reform strategy, and obtain buy-in. Specifically, JAA’s long-term employee has organized permanent WfD PPDs / working groups in all three sectors and helped to develop curriculum reforms.
Recognizing serious challenges for business-related innovation in BiH, JAA provided focus on improving the capacities of selected R&D technology centers, and stimulating innovation within BiH companies in the FIRMA focus sectors. JAA consultants mapped and rated 15 technology centers in BiH, they selected three centers for comprehensive evaluation and assistance. JAA’s expertise also helped in preparing a long-term action plan and set of specific priority projects / activities for the selected center.
JAA helped prime contractor Cardno and project partners increase competitiveness in the tourism, light manufacturing and wood processing industries. Results from FIRMA’s work with more than 600 companies, included 2,479 new jobs created between September 2009 and August 2014, workforce development trainings for 4,318 people, and beneficiary companies increasing their revenues by 40%.