RYCO Gathers Western Balkan Business Leaders to Feed-in Its Strategy Development Process

BELGRADE – Within the development process of the new RYCO Strategy for 2022-2024, the RYCO Local Branch Office in Serbia organized regional consultations with representatives of the business sector on 22-23 October 2021.

The event “Business Leaders Network Meeting: Why and How to Invest in Youth in Western Balkans?” gathered more than 30 representatives of companies based in the region, interested in community development and investment in the new generation and their regional cooperation. For the first time, RYCO met motivated business leaders from the region with the objective to open a dialogue on possibilities for creation of partnerships and exploring areas for cooperation on investing in young people of the region.

The first day of the event witnessed the opening session dedicated to the possibilities for involvement of the business sector in reconciliation and regional cooperation among youth in the Western Balkans. Two Youth Representatives in the RYCO Governing Board, Ms Françeska Muço and Mr Marko Kostić, and the Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina Ms Berina Bukva Alibašić discussed the synergy between the RYCO mission and businesses’ community development strategies, youth unemployment challenges in the region, and the latest RYCO study “Shared Futures: Youth Perceptions on Peace in the Western Balkans”. The participants from the business sector raised their concern about the youth unemployment as one of the most important challenges in the region, while others stated that there is a mismatch between the expectations of youth and demand of the labor market.

The opening session was followed by the networking dinner with a late night chat on Trends in Business in WB6, with welcoming remarks delivered by Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Serbia Mr Milan Savić, Deputy Head of the Mission at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany Ms Dorothea Gieselmann, and Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Serbia Ms Ivana Antonijević.

Mr Savić and Ms Gieselmann reaffirmed their support to RYCO’s mission and future work towards a better region for and with youth, while Ms Antonijević especially encouraged all business representatives to think about ways how the business sector can enhance regional cooperation and invest in the social capital.

The event’s second day conducted several workshops to collect tangible inputs from business leaders for the development of the new RYCO Strategy 2022-2024. Present business representatives gave their views on how the business sector can empower youth and how companies can support regional youth cooperation and peacebuilding. Furthermore, the participants discussed and gave their suggestions on areas for potential partnerships in the future and ideas on next steps in involvement of the business sector in the areas of RYCO’s work. Outcomes of these workshops will be taken into consideration and included in the new RYCO Strategy for the next three-year period.

During autumn 2021, RYCO has been organizing a series of consultations with stakeholders to get key inputs and priorities for its new strategy 2022-2024. The consultations on the new strategy of RYCO are implemented with the support of the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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