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As one of the activities within the Western Balkan Civil Society for Youth Employment Support (WeB4YES), the Institute for Youth Development KULT organized a one-day workshop intended to build the capacities of local units of self-government to support youth in launching and running their own businesses. The workshop was held on December 8, 2020 at Hotel Hills in Ilidža. 

The workshop included a presentation of the model for supporting businesses which was developed by the Institute for Youth Development KULT and implemented in cooperation with 8 local units of self-government in BiH, supporting over 50 businesses owned by young people. The workshop was attended by representatives from: Cazin, Modriča, Jezero,  Novi Travnik, Vitez, Orašje, Jablanica, Novo Sarajevo, Maglaj, Breza, Ilidža and Domaljevac – Šamac.

Sabina Viteškić, Advisor to Mayor on Economy and Tourism at the Municipality of Ilidža said that they used the model developed by the Institute to successfully support their young entrepreneurs.

Through discussion and interactive exercises, the workshop presented the key steps in the process of supporting the development of businesses from the perspective of municipalities/cities. The participants analyzed the different sections of the model, its advantages and potential gaps, and the applicability of the model in their local unit of self-government. 

Mr. Admir Pjanić, Head of the Department of Economy of Cazin Municipality and Alenka Ilovčević, Head of the Department of Economy and Business of Modriča Municipality, shared their experience with implementing the model for supporting youth launching their own business.

Admir Pjanić said that after their successful cooperation with the Institute for Youth Development KULT, the Municipality implemented this approach in their other support programs, noting that 55 out of the total 70 businesses have survived.

Alenka Ilovčević said it was important to provide youth with mentorship and expert advice, along with funds, as these types of support proved to be one of the crucial factors for the survival of their businesses.

The workshop was organized as a part of the Western Balkan Civil Society for Youth Employment Support initiative (WeB4YES) funded by the European Commission.

EURW

We took part in the biggest annual regional policy event in Europe. The event originated in Brussels and is dedicated to improving learning policies and sharing examples of good practice during EURegionWeek.

The event grew into a unique platform for communicating and connecting regions and cities across Europe, including their political representatives, officials, many experts, and academics, and will last until October 22, 2020. The themes of this year’s event are: Green Europe, Cohesion and Cooperation, Empowering Citizens.

A representative of the Institute for Youth Development KULT took part in a session titled: “Unlocking Women's Entrepreneurship Potential”. Women’s creativity and entrepreneurial potential were recognized as underutilized resources with the potential to drive economic growth and employment, which is why they should be developed and supported. The goals of the session were to discuss European and sustainable policies that are aligned with the needs of entrepreneurs and obstacles that have not been addressed with current instruments; share experiences with examples of good practine in supporting women launching and running their businesses and foster cooperation among all relevant stakeholders.

This workshop presented different ways for European societies to tackle this challenge. The workshop included a discussion on a political program developed in the Danube region to support women’s entrepreneurship and examples of measures used to support women entrepreneurs in different member states. One of the conclusions was that women entrepreneurs play an increasingly vital role in socially, professionally, and economically developing countries into knowledge and innovation-led economies. Among the most important resources for starting a business are the experiences of people who have already launched their business, family members, and mentors. Multiple online platforms have been set up where women can get online consultations and access databases of successful practices they can learn from. It’s very important to give them feedback and show them that they are not alone and there is a community willing to provide them with different kinds of help through consultations, trainings, various support programs, and grants.

slika1The final conference of the WeB4YES initiative (Western Balkan Civil Society for Youth Employment Support) was held online, on December 17 and 18.

The WeB4YES initiative i implemented with the support of the European Commission. Representatives of the Institute for Youth Development KULT, a partner in this regional initiative, took part in three panels and talked about youth entrepreneurship and employment and about the Institute’s advocacy campaign.

The conference included four panels:

1. Cooperation between civil society organizations and public authorities in the Western Balkans on youth employment policies and decision-making processes:

During this session, the panelists discussed key challenges in developing youth employment policies in order to map areas for potential cooperation between CSOs and public institutions in countries of the Western Balkans and contribute to reducing the unemployment rate among youth. The panelists agreed that youth participation in decision making and policy development is crucial, as is the work of youth organizations as youth representatives at the local, national and regional levels. They also noted the importance of supporting local initiatives that represent the voices of vulnerable youth.

2. Employability in the Western Balkans: key findings and recommendations

Young people in the Western Balkans are faced with a multitude of obstacles in the process of leaving education and entering the labor market.  One of the biggest obstacles they face is the lack of skills that could help them navigate today’s modern and dynamic business environment and find a job with good working conditions.  Youth employment efforts in the Western Balkans are recognized as a priority that calls for immediate action. The participants shared their recommendations for employing young people and discussed future challenges youth will face because of the pandemic. This panel also included a presentation of the WEB4JOBS platform, where youth from the Western Balkans can explore research opportunities, trainings, jobs, and exchange programs.

3. Self(employment) - Entrepreneurship in the Western Balkans

Youth entrepreneurship is increasingly being treated as a strategic priority by the government, especially as a way of addressing the high unemployment rate for youth in all Western Balkans countries. During this session, the panelists talked about obstacles youth encounter when launching a business, learning about entrepreneurship, including entrepreneurship in school curricula and taking other steps necessary to support and encourage youth self-employment and entrepreneurship. 

4. Advocating for youth employment and entrepreneurship: influence of CSOs on creating public policies

During the final session, the panelists presented their advocacy campaigns conducted during the WeB4YES project. All partners in the project designed advocacy policy programs for their country, based on the socio-economic needs of unemployed youth and young entrepreneurs. Campaigns were intended to result in concrete policies that will positively impact youth entrepreneurship and employment. 

 

konferencija web4yes

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.

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