The Institute for Youth Development KULT hosted a conference on the Importance of Municipalities and Cities in Supporting Entrepreneurs in the Local Community. Participants included young entrepreneurs, representatives of local administrations in charge of the business sector and economic development and other important stakeholders.
The participants discussed different models and ways to support young entrepreneurs launching their business, with a particular emphasis on the crucial role of local self-government units.
One of the models discussed was the model for supporting youth entrepreneurship which was developed by the Institute for Youth Development KULT. This model was successfully implemented in 8 local communities and supported 40 youth-owned businesses. The model is built around the concept of equal participation of the Institute and municipalities/cities, who join their funds and know-how to support young people starting their own business. These young people create jobs not only for themselves but for others that they hire to help run their business.
“The City of Živinice has a Business Center where locals can receive support and have their questions answered. There is also a mini incubator for all micro-businesses that don’t have their own space yet. Every business is welcome to use this space for a period between 6 and 12 months”, said Admir Aljić, Development Projects and Economy Advisor. He said that it’s important to keep an open mind when talking to a young persons with a business idea, and to offer them honest feedback about the sustainability of their idea. Mr. Aljić noted the importance of promoting businesses, and networking between local governments and businesses. According to him, trainings are very useful for aspiring entrepreneurs.
The 2013 survey Towards a Youth Policy – Survey on the Position and Needs of Youth in FBiH, conducted by the Institute, showed that 1 in 2 young people want to start their own business, but need financial support and advice. This shows that young people would be willing to develop their ideas into an actual business if they had financial support and mentorship, especially during the crucial first year of running their business.
“This used to be a hobby of mine, and then I realized I could turn it into a profession and continue our family tradition. The biggest problem I had was navigating all the red tape, but thanks to the Institute and the City of Trebinje I successfully registered my business. I think success will come if you carefully plan each step you take, if you have faith in yourself and never miss a chance to learn something new,” said Spasoje Kovač from Trebinje, owner of the “Vulkan” blacksmith’s shop.
The conference was one of the activities of the Initiative WeB4YES – Western Balkan Civil Society Organisations for Youth Employment Support, funded by the European Commission.