The Youth Business Forum was held for the third year as the closing event of the Student Entrepreneurship project implemented by Center for Research and Studies GEA. The project is supported by USAID, in partnership with the University of Sarajevo, University of Banja Luka, and University of Mostar.
“The basic idea behind this project has been to encourage young people to become entrepreneurs, which over the course of the past three years we have succeeded in doing,” said project manager Milos Todorovic.
The director of the Economic Section of USAID’s mission to B&H, Thomas Rojas, said at the Forum that USAID support has served to minimize the risks faced by young entrepreneurs entering the market for the first time by helping them obtain the skills and self-confidence necessary to be competitive on the labor market
“This is a very significant event, because it addresses one of the most important topics at the moment in Bosnia and Herzegovina – young people and their employment,” said Rojas.
Yet again, young people in B&H have proven that they are ready to take responsibility for their own future, take risks, and start their own businesses. At the Forum, 12 student teams were awarded USD 4,000 each for their winning business ideas, so that they may register their companies and turn their ideas into reality.
Student teams were provided the opportunity to present their business plans to Forum guests, including not only fellow students but also potential investors and partners from both the public and private sector. Most of the winning ideas were in the area of agricultural production, which is becoming more and more popular among young people, followed by ideas focusing on new information technologies.
Here you can view a short film about the Student Entrepreneurship project – English subtitles available.
Student participants presented their ideas in accordance with this year’s Forum topic: “Young people in B&H entrepreneurship: Craziness or cleverness?” Presentations were followed by discussions about the legal framework, procedural steps and potential obstacles of registering and starting a business. The second day of the Forum was dedicated to discussions about “Young people as leaders in difficult situations,” highlighting positive examples of youth organization.
In the three years since the Student Entrepreneurship project was first launched with an award fund of USD 120,000 for the most successful student ideas, a full 1,725 students submitted applications to participate, 12 training modules were delivered with the participation of 20 lecturers, some 1,000 business ideas were generated, and 30 businesses were registered.
Project sponsors Hypo Alpe Adria Bank, ASA Group and m:tel company continued their support again this year.