The pandemic of the coronavirus in BiH has led to a rapid increase in demand for protective equipment for medical professionals in the short term. The blockade of international trade has stalled supply chains at a time when speed of delivery is crucial, with domestic firms facing market downturns and particularly difficult prospects for survival when a state of emergency was declared in the country.
UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina recognized the importance of the domestic economy and the significant role of BiH companies in responding to COVID-19.
Inhabitants of Tešanj, known for their agility and resourcefulness, quickly adapted to the new situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Koteks transformed its production process in record time.
“We did use the situation to lay off workers like some other employers, but focused our production on the sewing of protective suits, masks and visors. Together with our employees, we strive for survival because the introduction of rapid changes in the form of adaptation to different situations actually shows how systematically we are organized”, says Azra Bešlagić from this company.
Koteks has delivered 1,000 protective suits so far. In addition, Koteks donated a certain amount of protective equipment to the Federal Civil Protection Administration, as well as to the RS Emergency Management HQ. The company has thus shown that it cares about the health of all those who are on the front lines of fight against COVID-19.
Tešanj is recognized throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, and beyond, as one of the most successful municipalities. It is one of the municipalities in BiH with the lowest number of unemployed persons, and the “economic miracle” in Tešanj is made possible by agile local authorities, as well as by companies such as Koteks d.o.o. Tešanj, which has become one of the domestic companies that makes a concrete contribution to the fight against the pandemic. Today, many health professionals across Bosnia and Herzegovina are using their protective equipment.
Azra Bešlagić emphasizes that only those workers who have agreed to work in these circumstances come to work because their psychological health is very important for Koteks and they do not want to expose them to work in fear.
“As a large company, we are aware that people are our most valuable resource and we are aware that work is a part of life, not its purpose. Therefore, in these difficult times, we find our purpose in making it easier for employees and ensuring their livelihoods”, Azra emphasizes.
During this period, Koteks also began its “SDG innovation journey” through the SDG Accelerator for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in BiH.
The SDG Accelerator for SMEs is part of the project „SDGs Roll-out Support and Private Sector Engagement“, implemented by UNDP BiH and financed by Government of Sweden. The concept was founded in Denmark, and was tested in 2018 and 2019 with 30 Danish small and medium-sized industrial companies.
“We are honored to be one of the five selected companies to undergo certain procedures with the help of advisers and experts from Deloitte who will analyze how we can change or improve our existing business processes”, concludes Azra Bešlagić.