WESTERN BALKANS – The RISE project selected 137 young entrepreneurs gathered in 46 teams coming from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia to develop their social business ideas. Through a series of workshops, mobility programs and financial support, young people will have a chance to learn, grow, develop their businesses and at the same time help solve problems of their local communities.
The selected entrepreneurs are young people from the region, 18 to 35 years old, motivated to learn about social entrepreneurship and be involved in a regional intercultural program. Through this tailor-made program, they will develop their concrete ideas that will tackle social or environmental issues in their communities. Participation in the RISE project will develop their skills and contribute to their employability.
Implemented by six Local Structures from the Western Balkans and coordinated by a consortium composed of regional and European institutions, RISE (Regional Incubator for Social Entrepreneurs) aims to enrich the Western Balkans social entrepreneurship ecosystem and enable young people to develop innovative societal solutions thus contributing to reconciliation and cooperation in the region. A positive change in the Western Balkans is possible while stability and prosperity can be achieved only by fostering reconciliation and cooperation in the region.
The project promotes dialogue and cooperation between actors and between territories through the mobility of its participants, the organization of regional trainings, exchange workshops and events as well as the creation of a real network of young entrepreneurs. It is a three-year-long project that started on 1 October 2019 and is being implemented across the Western Balkans 6.
On the project
The RISE project is developed and monitored by a consortium composed of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), GROUPE SOS Pulse, South East European Youth Network (SEEYN), Institut Francais, and the Franco-German Youth Office (OFAJ), and implemented by six local incubators: ARNO, Balkan Green Foundation, Nesto vise, Smart Kolektiv, IEC Tehnopolis and Yunus Social Business.
The general objective of RISE is to foster reconciliation in the Western Balkans through the promotion and strengthening of social entrepreneurship in the region. The project opens new spaces of reconciliation for the youth of the Western Balkans, through a regional program to support social entrepreneurship.
This project is co-funded by the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO).
On social entrepreneurship
A social enterprise is an operator in the social economy whose main objective is to have a social impact rather than make a profit for their owners or shareholders. It operates by providing goods and services for the market in an entrepreneurial and innovative fashion and uses its profits primarily to achieve social objectives. It is managed in an open and responsible manner and, in particular, involves employees, consumers and stakeholders affected by its commercial activities.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence