FACT SHEET: Student Entrepreneurship in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Project Snapshot
Total Funding:  $531,800
Start Date:  September 2011
End Date:   September 2014
Implementing Partner:   GEO Association Center for Research and Studies
 
The Challenge
Reducing youth unemployment is one of the major challenges facing Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). In 2010, BiH official statistics reported an unemployment rate above 40%, and the unemployment rate is particularly high amongst women and youth. Youth entrepreneurship can be a complementary strategy for fighting unemployment overall, and improves young people's general employability in changing labor markets. However, young entrepreneurs need strong initial support in starting and maintaining a successful business, including education and training, business plan development, registration, seed funding, and mentoring.  BiH needs assistance developing and establishing a sustainable support system for youth entrepreneurship.
 
Our Program
USAID's Student Entrepreneurship program develops student entrepreneurship and civic participation in BiH. The program will develop the business skills of students and provide new opportunities for realization of creative ideas. The project will provide entrepreneurship education and training, technical assistance, access to affordable finance, and continued advice and support throughout the initial start-up period of their businesses. The program will establish a Youth Business Forum to provide a platform for exchanging ideas and communication among youth from different regions of BiH and provide a venue for civic and political participation on issues related to youth and business.
 
Implementation and Results
The project has partnered with three BiH universities in Sarajevo, Mostar, and Banja Luka, and is establishing project teams with students from these universities who are interested in starting their own business, regardless of their vocation.  In each location, the project provides assistance through practical "schools of entrepreneurship" led by prominent experts and recognized entrepreneurs. These experts share their knowledge and experience with students through workshops and practical education modules, and help students transform their business ideas into concrete business plans. The project awards a total of $36,000 each year for the nine most prospective business plans. The awards committee includes representatives of private companies to strengthen relations between students and the local business community. The project is organizing the first Youth Business Forum in BiH to provide a venue for young people to exchange ideas, create alliances, and engage in dialogue with policymakers and other stakeholders about shaping their future in business.  
 
For more information:
Drazena Peranic, USAID/BiH Development Outreach and Communications Specialist
 

Last updated: November 27, 2013

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