The economic impact of COVID-19 has been severe for small businesses everywhere. In Montenegro, financial help from the European Investment Bank, the EU bank, has made a big difference. “It was particularly important for retaining the liquidity of economy and jobs,” says Irena Radović, chief executive of the Investment and Development Fund of Montenegro, which teamed up with the European Investment Bank to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). “It was also crucial for development projects that contribute to the creation of new economic value and the recovery of our economy in the post-pandemic period.”
One of the businesses that was supported through this fund was the furniture company Doding. Doding has been producing custom-made furniture for almost three decades and has grown from a small family business to an enterprise with over 90 employees. The company started in 1998 with the production of furniture to measure, using laminated materials, particleboard and wood. Since then, the company has grown and now also handles large-scale projects like hotels, residential complexes and business premises. The company employs experts in the fields of architecture, design, furniture manufacturing, sales, technology, production, marketing and finances. In addition to two production plants, Doding has showrooms in City Kvart, Podgorica and Radanovići, where their design and production capacities are presented through interior design and furniture.
The company is run by architect Ana Pejović, along with her construction engineer husband, Branko. Their company is constantly growing and when the COVID-19 pandemic started they were planning to invest further in technology. However, as Ana explains, the fall in revenues together with the uncertainties caused by the pandemic prevented them from further investment. “The pandemic was a difficult time for all businesses, including us,” says Ana.
However, just at that time they heard about an opportunity for a favourable loan provided by the Investment and Development Fund of Montenegro with the support of European Investment Bank, the EU’s lending arm. They applied and were granted a loan through which they purchased a computerised and technologically highly advanced CNC cutter as well as a computerised furniture painting unit based on the latest technology.
Ana explains that these two machines were a great help for the further sustainable growth of their business in the difficult pandemic and post-pandemic times. “This support was hugely important as it helped to keep our business steady through difficult times,” she says.
Now, apart from their regular activities, the company is working on the introduction of a new product line called Doding Outdoor, which will offer garden and beach furniture. For this they are working on an innovative and environmentally-friendly approach where they are planning to use wood leftovers from their main production activities. Doding’s plans include further expansion in the regional and EU market. Although they already have international clients, they want to increase company exports and become a regional brand.
About the project
Montenegrin small businesses can continue to rely on the European Investment Bank for support on their path to a modern, digital, green and circular economy. The Bank’s presence is now enhanced through its new branch, EIB Global.
The proof of this is the €100 million deal with the Investment Development Fund for climate-friendly and energy-efficient investments by local SMEs signed since 2021. It unlocks a new source of much-needed climate and environmental sustainability financing to fast-track the decarbonisation of the local economy and its decoupling from fossil fuels.
Photo credits: Doding
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