Brief description Development of entrepreneurship in the sector of stone processing and exploitation in the cross-border region of Herzegovina and Dalmatia.
Region Intra Western Balkan borders
Countries Croatia (HR) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)
Location HR: Split-Dalmatia, Dubrovnik-.Neretva, Šibenik-Knin and Zadar Counties (cities/municipalities of Split, Trogir, Vrgorac, Pučišća, Ston, Dubrovnik, Benkovac and Imotski)

BiH: West-Herzegovina, Herzegovina-Neretva County-Canton (cities/municipalities of Posušje, Mostar, Široki Brijeg, Međugorje and Jablanica).

Type of project partners Chambers, business associations
Local/regional development agencies
Size (total budget including EU grants) Over € 500,000
Main themes Competitiveness, business and SME development, trade and investment
Keywords (Types of Activities) Education and training
Research and studies
Institutional building
Marketing, promotional activities, awareness campaigns
Acquisition of equipment
Keywords (Aspects of Good Practice) Genuine cross-border dimension
Genuine cross-border impact
Good dissemination
Good sustainability
Background and Objectives The STONE project was born in response to numerous problems in the stone processing sector in the targeted cross-border area, including:

  • Lack of an institutional platform for dialogue to enable long-term sustainable cooperation between the bordering areas.
  • Lack of a systematic database as the basis for further actions to improve the stone processing sector.
  • Legal burdens on Dalmatian entrepreneurs preventing an increase of stone exploitation as a precondition for expansion in the sector and increased export of value added products.


  • To popularise the stone processing and traditional stonemasonry, as profitable economic activity.
  • To strengthen networks of economic cooperation between entrepreneurs and improve their potential for growth and competitiveness.
  • To enhance the capacities and accessibility of the education system as a means for developing the skills of the labour force skills in stone processing in order to be able to respond to market demand.
Main activities The main groups of activities were, as follows:

  • Preparation of a sectoral analysis in both countries (analysis of needs and potentials for improvements in the stone processing and exploitation sector).
  • Creation and implementation of long-term sustainable and compatible vocational education in the stone sector.
  • Education of stone processing employees and school teachers.
  • Promotion of SME cooperation and clustering in the region.
Main results The STONE project achieved a range of specific results. This action:

  • formalised cooperation of institutional stakeholders;
  • conducted a detailed analysis in the stone processing sector and recommended further actions;
  • established cross-border cooperation in the creation of high school curriculum for stonemasonry;
  • equipped school rooms for practical stonemasonry workshops;
  • improved stonemasonry skills of current employees and job seekers in stone processing;
  • trained stonemasonry workshop teachers;
  • promoted stonemasonry in high schools;
  • promoted production of new added-value stone products;
  • enabled long-term support and cooperation for stonemasonry start-ups;
  • promoted cross-border cooperation of stonemasonry crafts and SMEs;
  • improved capacities for cluster management and marketing;
  • promoted Croatian and BiH stonemasonry companies at international fair.
Aspects of good practice The STONE project demonstrated good practice aspects across the board, notably in terms of cross-border dissemination and longer-term sustainability of benefits.

The project was successful in popularising stone processing and traditional stonemasonry as a valuable and profitable activity. Strong media promotion, useful and interesting events programmes contributed to a direct involvement of SMEs from this sector in a wide spectrum of activities.

Several elements in the STONE project have created conditions for the longer-term sustainability of the benefits deriving from this action:

  • Capacities of human resources in this sector were enhanced through series of targeted workshops and specialized education.
  • The significantly increased level of cooperation between the entrepreneurs, SMEs supporting institutions and education institutions will enable further concrete actions in this sector and enable better planning and coordination of the development strategies.

Furthermore, cooperation established and results achieved within this project are expected to become a generator for future actions to address development of this cross-border region.

Start and completion dates: 22.02.2011 – 21.12.2012
More information
Partner HR: Split Dalmatia County Development Agency – RERA,
Partner BiH: Development Agency of the West-Herzegovina County – HERAG,