FACT SHEET: Partnership for Innovation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Project Snapshot
Total Funding:  $5 million
Start Date:  August 2011
End Date:  August 2016
Implementing Partner:   Education Development Center
 
The Challenge
The economic challenges facing Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) include high unemployment rates (between 24% and 44.5%, and even higher among youth), marginal GDP growth, and a severely contracted domestic and global market.  Creating jobs relies on strengthening and expanding small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).  A major factor in SME success is their use of value-added information and communications technologies (ICTs), which enable SMEs to compete in the European Union and global marketplace, attract and communicate with customers, employ efficient supply and distribution channels, and modernize their business processes. 
 
Our Program
USAID’s Partnership for Innovation project supports the creation and operation of Business Innovation Centers (BICs) in four BiH cities -- Banja Luka, Tuzla, Mostar, and Sarajevo – as sustainable service providers that will continue strengthening local ICT capacity after the end of the project.  The project improves SME competitiveness and productivity by increasing their use of value-added ICT and ability to offer new products and services that respond to market demand.  It also enhances entrepreneurship and employment, especially among youth, by enabling them to use ICT to identify and exploit new business opportunities. 
 
Implementation and Results
The project has partnered with international vendors, including Microsoft and HP, local public authorities, and private BiH companies to establish BICs in Banja Luka and Tuzla.  The project has completed the ICT sector market assessments for these two regions, and will use the findings to develop the range of services to be provided by the new BICs.  PI also conducted a series of roundtables and presentations in Banja Luka and Tuzla to develop summer courses for students and to define curricula/projects for internship programs with private enterprises.  To date, approximately 130 persons attended these, including representatives of relevant ministries, students and faculty of local schools, and private enterprises.  In Mostar and Sarajevo, the project has published a call for proposals in major newspapers to solicit partners in those cities.  Formalized agreements for all four Business Innovation Centers will be signed in summer 2012. 
 
For more information, go to www.innovation.ba or contact: 
Drazena Peranic, USAID/BiH Development Outreach and Communications Specialist
 

Last updated: January 15, 2014

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