WESTERN BALKANS – Twelve social businesses, two from each: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, will be supported with financial grants of 2.500€ and a regional incubation program to make their ideas a reality. The selected social businesses of young people are supported with a total of 30.000€ within the RISE project which initially worked with 46 teams composed of 137 young people from the Western Balkans.
“The journey of our young entrepreneurs continues, as the winners of the Ideation phase are now joining a full Incubation program. Congratulations to them, congratulations also to our Consortium as we are passing this big milestone. Do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to join the adventure,” representative of the Groupe SOS Pulse Ms Kelly Robin underlined.
“For our region that is in post-conflict transition and is suffering from brain drain and high unemployment, today with the pandemic too, it is important more than ever to develop innovations and entrepreneurship actions that can make an impact and support our communities and link them. Young people should be on the frontline with their energy and creativity and RISE can support and empower them in this significant mission,” Director of Programs of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) Mr Jan Zlatan Kulenović added.
“In the last 4 months, we have witnessed the RISE of outstanding young people from all over the WB6 through their dedicated work on social businesses, desire for progress and learning, as well as by bringing social entrepreneurship competencies to the level of great professionals ready to attack the market and produce value for community good. We were also witnessing the establishment of new long-lasting friendships and cooperation among those youngsters what make us believe that we are contributing to the knitting of the social cohesion fabric for a prosperous and peaceful region,” Executive Director of the South East European Youth Network (SEEYN) Ms Mirela Rajković concluded.
Implemented by six Local Incubators from the Western Balkans and coordinated by a consortium composed of regional and European partners, 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 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 approach, they develop their concrete ideas that tackle social or environmental issues in their communities. Participation in the RISE project is also developing their skills and contributing to their employability.
The project promotes dialogue and cooperation between actors and between the territories. It is a three-year-long project that started on 1 October 2019 and is being implemented across the Western Balkans 6.
*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