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Program to Empower Jobless to Create Small Businesses in Serbia Receives Grant from Philip Morris International

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, November 18, 2010 – Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) and Serbian nonprofit Economic Expert Community Association (ENECA) announced today that they have signed an agreement for PMI to continue funding a charitable grant program, begun by ENECA and PMI in 2009, to help unemployed people start their own small businesses in the Serbian city of Nis where PMI’s DIN “Fabrika Duvana” a.d. Niš (DIN) factory is located.

Since PMI funding for the program began in 2009, 50 unemployed people in Nis have successfully started their own businesses, and these businesses are already employing more than 80 people. PMI’s 2010 grant aims to target an additional 50 unemployed people to receive small-business start-up grants.

Said Area Director South East Europe, Skip Bornhuetter, “As one of Nis’ largest employers, we are very pleased to contribute to the community by funding the ENECA initiative that promotes entrepreneurship”.

ENECA’s program involves a careful selection process to choose unemployed beneficiaries based on the viability of businesses proposals submitted to ENECA. Once a recipient’s project is approved, ENECA provides the recipient with business training and a grant to cover 80% of the capital start-up cost for the business in the form of equipment and supplies. Grant recipients must cover 20% of the remaining capital costs to ensure their continued motivation and commitment, and must also give back to the community in the form of 15 hours of community service in their area of expertise.

“This program squarely addresses job creation, which is my number one critical priority”, said Nis Mayor, Miloš Simonovic.  “The ENECA/PMI partnership is a great example of how a public-private partnership can effectively train and empower people to succeed.”

Said ENECA Director, Masa Bubanj: “This initiative is creating new businesses. Every new business that succeeds will create jobs for people. And when people have jobs they will buy goods and services from local businesses which in turn will multiply into more economic activity and more jobs.”

About ENECA

ENECA is a local Serbian non governmental organization founded in 2005. ENECA runs programs addressing critical socio-economic issues in Southern Serbia by providing in-kind support to new businesses, advanced business training courses, tailor made vocational training courses and support in the creation of cooperatives. For more information see www.eneca.org.rs

About Philip Morris International

Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) is the leading international tobacco company, with seven of the world’s top 15 brands, including Marlboro, the number one cigarette brand worldwide.  PMI’s products are sold in approximately 160 countries.  In 2009, the company held an estimated 15.4% share of the total international cigarette market outside of the U.S., or 26.0% excluding the People’s Republic of China and the U.S. 

Philip Morris International (PMI) supports charitable giving programs that improve living conditions in places our employees reside and work, as well as in the farming communities where we source our tobacco. Today, PMI invests in the range of $25 million per year to charitable causes all over the planet. We select and manage our programs ourselves, working directly with local NGOs. For more information, see www.pmi.com.

For more information please contact:
ENECA:
   Masa Bubanj/ mbubanj@eneca.org.rs/ +381 18 429 44 92
Philip Morris International (PMI):   Monica Montero/ media@pmi.com/ +41 58 242 4500
DIN “Fabrika duvana” a.d. Niš (DIN): Miodrag Stojadinovic/miodrag.stojadinovic@pmintl.com/ +381 18 55 44 33

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