Conference “Young Entrepreneurs: Moving Energy in the World, Untapped Potential in Bosnia and Herzegovina”

The Conference “Young Entrepreneurs: Moving Energy in the World, Untapped Potential in Bosnia and Herzegovina” gathered, on July 4 in the Hotel Europe in Sarajevo, 50 young successful entrepreneurs, influential persons from the domain of entrepreneurship, and representatives of the government institutions.

The conference was held as the final activity of the three-month program “Business STARTer” which started in May 2016. Sharing opinions and experiences on the state, possibilities and future of entrepreneurship, speakers and panelists emphasized the importance of developing youth entrepreneurship as a driver of change in their environments.

Dragan Milovic, Assistant Minister of MVTEO BiH, Sabina Softic, partner in Deloitte BiH, Dijana Duvnjak, President of the Steering Board of the Foundation 787, Branka Panic, Program Manager of the European Fund for the Balkans and number of panelists addressed the attendees.

“Today we presented the research we implemented among young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 31% of respondents stated they plan to start their own business in the next 3 years, and 83% of them want to attend non-formal education program in order to improve skills and knowledge about entrepreneurship. Foundation 787 continues to find and strengthen young entrepreneurs across BiH”, said Dijana Duvnjak, president of the Steering Board of the Foundation 787.

According to this research, more than 90 percent of respondents are inspired by the stories of young entrepreneurs, and this helps them and motivates them to dive into the entrepreneurial waters. Duvnjak said that the conference was an opportunity to hear the experiences of young entrepreneurs, but also to link them and exchange experiences.

“One way to bring relevant information closer to young people is by engaging them in activities like those carried out by the Foundation 787, then through this conference and online platforms. Young people have a greater problem than lack of funds, and that is, they lack information and they do not know whom to contact for support”, added Duvnjak.

Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH, Dragan Milović said that the Ministry is implementing several activities aimed at, inter alia, employment of young people.

“We have a COSME program whose implementation is expected in the autumn. Young entrepreneurs can apply. These are high value projects through which significant financial resources will be available”, said Milovic.

Commenting on how it is to run a business in BiH from the perspective of a young entrepreneur, Almir Mukača, founder of Fress (Krompir.ba) and a panel member, said: “Positive aspects of doing business in BiH is still modest competition in different business fields. It’s better to be among the first in your branch in BiH, than one of many somewhere abroad. It can sound like a cliché, but we should stay in BiH and I support initiatives and activities carried out by the Foundation 787. ”

One of the participants in the Business STARTer academy, Emra Sabljica, said she applied to attend it because she considered it wasn’t enough to just finish the college, but she needed to continue her education.

“Starting one’s own business is not a bugaboo as some believe. We learned the steps necessary to start a business at the academy,” said Sabljica, who plans to start a kindergarten or school for children with disabilities.

The conference was organized by the Foundation 787, with the support of the European Fund for the Balkans. Realization of the program was supported by: Akta.ba, Radio Antena Sarajevo, Poslovne novine, Coca-Cola BiH, Franz & Sophie, Leef, Faculty of Political Sciences and agency Creative 24/7.