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"Youth Entrepreneurship in the Western Balkans" PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Abela   
Tuesday, 01 December 2015 15:39

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Considering that the level of youth unemployment has reached over 50% in the countries in the Western Balkans, the governmental and educational institutions, as well as the leading companies, wish to find solutions that would help youth in achieving a stable and strong economic future.  

"Youth Entrepreneurship in the Western Balkans" is a regional conference held on 26 November in Skoplje and organised by the British Council that aimed to raise awareness and incite discussion on important issues in the area of education and employment. It gathered youth entrepreneurial minds and representatives of different institutions and organisations in one place with one leading goal - to present the possibilities of improving policies and introduce the decision-makers with the awareness of existing practices, policies and support of the surroundings to business through best practices in youth entrepreneurship. During the event, relevant speakers from all the participating countries of the Western Balkans and the Great Britain presented their experiences through 4 topics: entrepreneurship in educational reforms, governmental policies and measures, business incubators - perspective and role of organisations working with youth. 

During the thematic sessions, the focus was placed on the following: 

Entrepreneurship in educational reforms – Youth feel the need for entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and various training programmes. Education is the first brick in building the entrepreneurial spirit. Representatives of schools and faculties and training organisers discussed and presented the possibilities of incorporating entrepreneurship into educational systems with the participants. 

Governmental policies and support to youth entrepreneurship -  Which policies, means and activities can be used to support the development of youth entrepreneurship? 

Perspective of business incubators - What are the services that the business incubators have to offer to youth entrepreneurs? What are they doing and how are they supporting youth? What obstacles are they facing? 

Role of umbrella youth bodies and organisations in developing entrepreneurship - What is their role in developing policies? How do they support youth entrepreneurship? How could they be involved more? 

All these questions were answered by more than 20 experts in these areas. 

A representative of the Institute presented to the attendants the Model of Support to Youth Start-up Businesses as a profitable investment of the governmental institutions in the active measures of youth self-employment. The researches conducted have indicated that a significant number of youth in BiH see an exit from the current situation in starting up their own businesses (around 45% of youth in the RS have thought about starting up their own businesses); however, they lack support: financial, advisory and educational (79% of FBiH youth believe that they could use a business training). 

"We wish to use this initiative to take a concrete step that would grow into a mechanism through which youth would be able to apply for funds in their local community to start up their own businesses. We do not want the mechanism to be present in the budget for just one year, but to be a recurring annual budget item", stated the representative of the Institute in one part of her presentation.  

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