WESTERN BALKANS – For the second year in a row, two social businesses from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, are chosen to be supported with financial grants of 2.500€, a regional mobility program and a regional incubation program to make their ideas a reality. The twelve 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 121 young people from the Western Balkans.
The selected entrepreneurs are young people from the region, 18 to 35 years old, motivated to learn about social entrepreneurship and participate in a regional intercultural program. Through this tailor-made approach, they develop concrete ideas that tackle social or environmental issues in their communities. Participation in the RISE project also develops their skills and contributes to their employability.
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.
“RISE has proven to be a bridge that connects young people on the noblest mission of all: to leave an entrepreneurial footprint for a positive change. The program makes young people realise that their shared problems require shared solutions that can flourish only through open cooperation and innovation. RISE supports the next WB6 entrepreneurial heroes who will make the region a more prosperous and attractive place to live in,” Mr Marjan Icoski, Program Manager at ARNO, stated.
“What makes us especially happy in working with young people on the RISE project is their commitment and brilliant business ideas with a social component, as well as their willingness to cooperate and work with young people from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region,” Mr Adem Lisicic, Project manager at Nesto vise, underlined.
“In the last four months, we had one more inspiring RISE journey with young impact leaders from all over the WB6 whom we empowered to launch their business ideas for better societies. It was a great pleasure to mentor these courageous young people, give them access to knowledge and network of like-minded young leaders from the region and social entrepreneurs and witness the transformation of their innovative ideas to social businesses,” Social Innovations Program Manager at Smart Kolektiv, Ms Ivana Stancic, concluded.
The project promotes dialogue and cooperation between different actors and between communities. It is a three-year-long project that started on 1 October 2019 and is implemented across the Western Balkans 6.
To learn more about the selected entrepreneurs, click the button below.
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