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Business development through training, trade, quality and micro credit programs

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Successful Start-up program for youths and women in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Business start-up programs for people that are unemployed are a very important component of the BIP program in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where many youths and women who complete their education are not able to find a job in a relevant profession. Many turn to low quality jobs in the informal – gray – economy, which again leads to a high rate of youth migration to other countries.

Entrepreneurial thinking or learning about entrepreneurship is at a very low level and not incorporated in to the education system, even though BIP is working on the issue through the Student Entrepreneurship Program.
With a youth unemployment rate of 57%, BiH maintains one of the highest rates of unemployment for young people in all of Europe.

To help job creation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Business Innovation Programs has organized 24 start-up trainings in nine areas and thirteen cities. All this has been done in less than one year, starting in December 2012 and has achieved the following results:

  • 403 potential entrepreneurs, mainly unemployed youths up to 35 years old and women (no age limit) have been trained and they have developed their own business plans with an aim to starting their own businesses. In some places there are still waiting lists of entrepreneurs who want to enter the program
  • 17 consultants from local development agencies have been certified in the BIP methodology and are in a BIP network of consultants for BIH.
  • More than 20 experienced entrepreneurs and company owners have shared their knowledge and experience with start-up training participants
  • More than 15 employees in the public sector working directly with business development at the local level have participated in the program.
  • 9 businesses have been started and registered so far – more to come in the autumn
  • Cities that are active in the program are: Banja Luka, Bihać, Bileća, Čapljina, Doboj-Jug, Kakanj, Pale, Srebrenica, Tuzla, Višegrad, Zavidovići, Zenica, and Žepče.

Statistics from the BIP –Start-Up Program (for January to August 2013) show that out of 403 of the training participants, 259 or 64% were women and 144 or 36% were men. Out of 403 participants, 368 or 91% are unemployed, meaning they have little or no work experience at all and will have difficulties to enter the labour market.

As a confirmation of the World Bank survey of Bosnia and Herzegovina concerning the highly educated and unemployed labour force, of the participants in BIP start up program 196 or 49% had completed faculty and 185 or 46% completed secondary school still remained with a job for long time after their graduation.

The majority of the participants in the program do not have regular internet access, they have little knowledge about legal aspect of business registration and limited information on how to access available governmental support programs and financial support for business start-ups. They also lack experience in business management.
The sheer number of applicants that responded to the program and the excellent evaluation shows that the practical approach in the program has been a great success. The participants show great interest in creating employment for them by starting a micro or small business activity and we expect more businesses to be registered by the autumn of 2013.


Participants work on their business plans with assistance of BIP trainers – Zenica, March 2013.


Start-up training in Banja Luka, March 2013


First BIP Business Start-up training in Bileća, March 2013.


Shipwreck exercise – group work, Pale III training, April 2013


Participants calculate their operative budget and profit , Pale III training April 2013


Joint photo , Pale III start-up  training April 2013



Official delegation from the counties of Oslo and Ostfold in Norway get a taste of local produce, people and potential.

The Norwegian Ambassador to Bosnia and Hercegovina - His Excellency Jan Braathu – recently met with a successful 4 day long, 10-man strong delegation investigating bi-lateral possibilities in Mostar, Trebinje and Ljubinje.

The delegation included 6 key representatives from various municipalities and agencies in Norway, as well as four local development facilitators. The purpose of the visit was to gain first hand knowledge and become better acquainted with local produce and producers; to exchange ideas; and to explore possible areas for mutual cooperation and development.

The delegation started its work in Trebinje on June 1st and ended the tour in Mostar on June 5th, 2010.

In Trebinje the delegation started by visiting the BIP Student Enterprise Project and Exhibition. Subsequently the group were welcomed by the Business Incubator in Trebinje where several presentations were made covering various projects and activities.


Absolutely no lack of elegance amongst the participants of the Student Enterprise Project!

On the second day the group met with the Mayor and leading officials from the municipality before departing for Ljubinje. In Ljubinje the group also met with the Mayor and leading officials from this municipality and visited two agricultural sites to get first hand information about relevant projects and activities.


Trebinje


Lubinje

On the third day the group started work by visiting the Nansen Dialogue Center in Mostar for discussions before proceeding to have meetings with LiNK and also visit a successful local furniture producer with exports to Norway.


Addonis Furniture Company

On the final day in Mostar the group had meetings with Ministers, the Mayor and leading officials from the municipality.


Mostar

The four day long program and the extensive and comprehensive, well planned agenda enabled all participants to gain new insights and share valuable knowledge and different points of view. Delegations with this style and practical format greatly enhance the possibilities for building the basis for fruitful cooperation for the future.


Norwegian Ambassador visits multiple local projects

September 2009

A delegation headed by The Norwegian Ambassador His Excellency Jan Braathu, secretary Zeljka and representatives from BIP, visited Ljubinje where they met with representatives from Link and the Center for Development Herzogivina (CDH) in order to gain first hand knowledge of various projects in progress.

Here they met with local mayors representing some 5,000 inhabitants in a regional which previously had some small industrial activities, but has now turned to agriculture. The association that has been started wants to have close cooperation with BIP, not least to help with business development in general, but also more specifically with testing export markets for local produce.

Subesquently the delegation continued to Trebinje, the largest town in this area with some 30,000 inhabitants. Here meetings were held with ZALFIA in connection with their honey production activities. ZALFIA and BIP cooperate in various arenas including training young people to become bee-keepers and in the export of honey. In connection with exports, EC certification is being sought and cooperation with the Norwegian “Honningsentral” is also well underway. In addition they have also started exporting bee-keeping equipment to Norway.

Later in the day the delegation visited a secondary school in Trebinje where 30 students are actively involved with teachers and the Principal in developing their Student Enterprise projects.


Business Training for young bee-keepers in Trebinje

Trebinje, June 2009
The idea of organization of combined agro-business training was initiated and developed in Norway in May 2008, when representatives of Apiculture cooperative Zalfija and Business Association LiNK, visited Norwegian Honning Centralen and BIP in Norway. Representative of BIP Mr. Jon Steinar Ostgaard suggested having this Bee-keeper’s School before the season (April, May and June 2009) and afterwards to organize business training for all participants. This was a first time to have this type of combined agro-business training; participants had a lot of practical work and exercises in bee-farms and also made some evaluations of their business idea of being individual bee-keepers.

See these web site links or more info:


Student Entrepreneurship (SE) Fairs
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) 2009

Norwegian Ambassador Jan Braathu opens Student Enterprise Fair in BiH.

Business Innovation Programs (BIP) organized the 6th Student Entrepreneurship Fair in 4 regions in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 6th – 13th February 2009.

First SE Fair ever was organized in Sarajevo in year 2002 for 9 schools and 25 student companies formed by approximately 125 students.

For the 2008 generation student enterprises, BIP Program organized 4 Regional SE Fairs for 810 students from 23 schools who had formed 181 student companies under the supervision of 42 teachers.

Regional SE Fairs were organized together by the BIP Norway, BIP BiH Office Banja Luka and local regional coordinators, under the patronage of Royal Norwegian Embassy in BIH, Ministry of Education and Culture RS, Cantonal Ministries of Education in FBiH and with sponsorship of “Marbo” and “M:Tel” Companies from RS.

Competitive categories at all 4 Regional SE Fairs followed equal criteria for assessment:

Best Stand, Best Product, Best Business Plan and Best Overall Student Company.

First prize, for the Overall Best Student Company, from each fair is participation at the BIP Summer Camp in Sutomore (Montenegro) from June 20-25 2009, together with the best companies from Serbia, Montenegro and Norway.

Short overview of the Regional SE Fairs and the Overall winners for 2009

1.    06/02/09 – Lukavac-Tuzla

This first Regional SE Fair was organized for 51 Student Company with more than 250 participating students from 7 different schools. It was noticed that this SE Fair offered a lot of companies dealing with production of cakes and cookies; several companies dealing with social and environmental issues, such as “solutions for decrease of local pollution”, “students’ back-packs supporting corrective position of back and spine”, “multi-practical furniture”; some companies producing different jewelry and bags. 

The best overall company was the “Siguran korak” Company from Secondary School Gracanica, producing the multi-level access ramp for disabled persons.

2.    09/02/09 – Sarajevo

Second Regional SE Fair hosted 56 Student Companies and approx. 300 students from 8 different schools. This Fair offered variety of students’ products: agricultural manuals; cakes; decorative pillows and bed-lamps; ikebana; pictures; traditional carpets; cards and souvenirs; preserved food. According to the unified evaluation of the 3-member jury the overall winning company was the “CD Economic”, a student company from the Secondary School Pale, making the wooden CD racks.

3.    11/02/09 – Banja Luka

Third Regional SE Fair gathered approx. 120 students from 4 schools, who organized 24 student companies.

Most of the products at this Fair were made in wood and could be used either as a practical tool at home or as a present; some companies made jewelry and cards for all occasions but especially suitable for the upcoming St. Valentine’s day. Some companies were making different decorative glass-products and one of them, the Company “Lifestyle” from Secondary School Bihac, won the overall prize by decorating the glasses with different colored threads.

 13/02/09 – Doboj

Fourth and final Regional SE Fair for 2008 generation was organized for 50 companies from 5 schools with more than 150 students. Student Companies appearing at this Fair presented the large quantity of very different but practical products, such as: ground hole-digger; wooden boxes; modern badges made of recycled material; didactic toys and puppets; soups and refreshments made in traditional ways; ethno products and souvenirs. The overall winning company was a company “Happy Time” making bee-wax candles the way they were made some hundred years ago.

All 4 Regional Fairs were followed closely by both local and nation wide medias, showing great interest for such events that promotes entrepreneurial skills and showing understanding that entrepreneurship among the teenage population represents an important factor for the future economic driving forces of the financial development in BiH.


BIP donation helps 13 new start-ups

New BIP incentive underlines self-employment is vital key to future.

All of the 13 new companies were started on the initiative of unemployed men and women in Mostar and Jablanica. Their business ideas cover a wide and diverse area, including various types of services and production, but they all have one common aim – to provide viable work, income and a future for the participants through self-employment.

To help ensure the success of these new start-ups, all of the would-be entrepreneurs undertook the BIP course in how to establish a new business in December. They were also trained in the BIP methodology concerning the key steps in quality assuring new start-ups that has proven so successful on many other occasions and in many other countries.

All of the 13 start-up company registrations were made possible in part or in full, depending on the type of company being registered, by a donation made by BIP to the local agency LiNK that is empowered with the follow up of these and other projects.

BIP has undertaken continue to support and encourage other viable start-ups with similar donations to cover registration expenses for the next two years.


Another new generation of Student Enterprises spawned in Bosnia

The 2008 generation of Student Enterprises embraces 795 students from 23 schools with 181 business enterprises. In addition, 42 teachers have been trained in all aspects needed to make everything possible for the students and their enterprises.

Not only are the teachers given necessary instruction and training, but an annual follow up seminar was held at the Hotel Hollywood in Sarajevo on 13-15th October and to which all the teachers and coordinators were invited.

The purpose of the follow up seminar is to share information about the Student Enterprise program in BiH, to discuss its improvement, new teaching methods and the fairs.

Amongst the guest speakers was Carsten Schmidt, previous team leader for the EU VET program in BiH. In addition, Stefania Fantuz from the Italian Development Corporation in BiH gave a talk covering what her organization does for young people, in particular their loan warranty fund for young entrepreneurs. The Norwegian Ambassador His Excellency Jan Braathu held an interesting talk on how small businesses in Norway have grown to become sizable companies and the important role of educational systems to facilitate this. The Ambassador based much of his talk on facts related to the “2004 – 2008 young entrepreneurs’ educational system strategy” that was successfully drawn up and put together by three different Departments.

An important aspect of the seminar was to stimulate feed back and dialog between the participants. In this connection Olivera Knezevic from Pale and Ljiljana Zukanovic from Bihac excelled with their presentation focusing on “Best Practises”.

All in all, the seminar was very well received by all participants and they gave it an evaluation of 5.5 points out of a possible maximum of 6.

Four regional fairs will be held in 2009 for the 2008 BiH generation of Student Enterprises:

  • February 6th in Lucavac
  • February 9th in Sarajevo
  • February 11th in Banja Luka
  • February 13th in Zepca

At these fairs the students will compete for prizes in three categories; best business plan; best stand / presentation / logo; and best product (most innovative / most environmentally friendly / most saleable). All the students from the best overall enterprise will be invited to attend the BIP annual Cross Borders Summer Camp in Sotomore.


Mutual inspiration

BiH Teaching Journal features BIP methodology

The September 2008 edition of Didactic Guideposts, the Journal for Teaching Theory and Practice published in Zenica, carried a two page article featuring the successful methodology of the BIP Student Enterprise program.


LiNK training held for two Women's Associations in Mostar

LiNK training was held for two Women's Associations in Mostar - the "House of open heart - Kuca otvorenog srca" and "Spring - Izvor" on 27th and 28th of December 2007, and on 8th and 9th of January 2008 in Mostar.

The training was organized within the COSPE project: "Social Accountability - Social Enterprises" - and 6 Business plans were developed (eco tourism with focus on disabled persons).

Meliha, Sabina and Belma used BIP methodology to carry out this training, and want to use this opportunity to thank BIP for transfer of knowledge and metodology to LiNK enabling the delivery this type of training.


Student Entrepreneurship (SE) Fairs in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)



Norwegian Ambassador Jan Braathu opens Student Enterprise Fair in BiH.

Business Innovation Programs (BIP) in BiH organized 4 regional SE Fairs, as the conclusion of the BIP SE Program for the school year 2006/2007. Fairs were organized together by the BIP Norway, BiH Office Banja Luka and local regional coordinators (Regional fairs were organized in Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Doboj and Tuzla. Competitive criteria were equal at all four fairs, and the following categories were assessed: The Best Stand; The Best Product; The Best Business Idea (Business Plan); The Best Overall Student Company.

First prize, for the Overall Best Student Company, from each fair was participation at the BIP Summer Camp in Sutomore (Montenegro) from 21st to 26th June 2008. The costs of the participation at the Summer Camp for 4 winning SE companies will be jointly compensated by BIP Program and Soros Open Society Fund BiH, prior implementing BIP partner.

Banja Luka, 14th of December 2007: covering the North-East part of BiH, and 5 towns, was the first fair organized for student entrepreneurship program in 2007/08 in BiH.

The Fair was organized in the VET Technical School Banja Luka, hosting 4 other regional schools from Banja Luka, Prijedor, Bihać and Cazin, 8 teachers, 26 student companies and 120 students.

The Fair offered variety of students’ products: post-cards and pictures; plastic and wooden trinkets; cakes and sweets; decoration for bottles and slogans for traditional shoes; mine-detector and remote controlled camera; and much more. According to the jury formed by 3 members, The Best Student Overall Product was the students’ company from Banja Luka Gymnasium, called “Piece of Cake” with their cakes and sweet products.

The following Fairs took place in February 2008, in Sarajevo, Doboj and Tuzla.

Sarajevo, 7th of February 2008: SE Fair at the Hotel Hollywood, gathered schools from 8 towns, i.e. Sarajevo, Pale, Fojnica, Foča, Goražde – from the Mid-West BiH, and Trebinje, Mostar, Kupres – from the South of BiH.

The Fair in Sarajevo assembled 11 schools, 22 teachers, 49 students’ companies and 235 students. The Fair was visited by the Norwegian Ambassador in BiH, Jan Braathu, who showed great interest in the students’ work.

Besides the Ambassador, the Fair was also visited by the Italian representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who offered their cooperation in future activities.

Among the different products and services, such as: tourist souvenirs; agriculture magazine; paint-ball facility; cleaning service; physiotherapeutic services; trinkets; cook-book; fluorescent school bags; the company “Velbušt” from the Mixed secondary school Trebinje, with the wooden souvenirs of their town, won the prize as the overall best company.


Exporting melons



BIP has been instrumental in bringing together the Norwegian COOP, local producers, municipal authorities and the Ministry of Agriculture. The resulting outcome has been the signing of an agreement between local producers and the COOP with a view to exporting 75 tons of seedless water melons and canteloupe melons to Norway during the summer of 2007.

Training in Trebinje provides skills for new business start-ups.





March 2007: 15 participants were trained in all the key aspects of putting together a successful business plan. Altogether, 13 business plans were developed by the participants for their own use after the training was completed. The Business Development Plan training was put together by BIP based on experience gained running dozens of similar courses, not only in this area, but in other regions and other countries. BIP used their specially trained personnel and a number of selected special guest speakers to cover all the topics.

The training was held in two 4 day sessions, with participants continuing to work on their projects at home between the sessions. At the end of the final 4 day session an evaluation commission selected the best business plans and made the following awards:
1st prize (1.500 Euros): Mr. Milidrag Kulji for his production of pickled cabbage in a traditional way
2nd prize (1.000 Euros): Mrs. Nada Mandeganja – for her production of eco-products that do not require heat processing (rosehip marmalade, blueberry wine, liquors, rose berry wine)
3rd prize (500 Euros): Mr. Velibor Toi for his Web Shop for the sale of traditional Hercegovinian products

The training received coverage on television and radio, as well as in the press and on the internet.


High quality Hercegovinian honey for export





April 2007: BIP has been instrumental in bringing together the Norwegian Honey Producers’ Association (Honning Centralen AL), local producers, municipal authorities and the Ministry of Agriculture. The resulting outcome has been the signing of an agreement between local producers and the Honning Centralen with a view to bringing Trebinje honey to markets that demand the natural and high quality inherent in locally made honey from Hercegovinia.

The interest shown by the Honning Centralen in the export potential of locally made honey because of its pure natural quality has also caused a lot of interest in the local media.


BIP Adult Enterprenur Training for female and youth of Trebinje

Project Goal: To organize and deliver BIP Adult enterprenur Training for youth (18-30 years) and females of all ages, business plan development in duration of 4 days training, one week off for follow up and 4 days final training and final event and awards.

  • Participants had chance to learn about financies and administration (practical exericises) that follows any business activity, laws and procedures about registration of business.
  • Participants worked on development of their own business plans, and they had brief presentation by CRH, Mr. Vulešević on how to present their business idea and plan to evaluation commission (body-language, self-confidance, instructions for speakers, etc.)

Evaluation comission listened presentations of business ideas/plans conducted by 13 candidates, one by one. Evaluation commission had half an hour to make decision, evaluation was made by calculating the average number of points for each candidate and the decision about three prizes was made.

  • Mr. Nedeljko Vuković - Starting a Bee-keeping ( production of Herzegovinan honey and other bee products) – received III prize (500 EURO)
  • Mr. Zeljko Zubac - Production of dried plums received II prize (1.000 EURO)
  • Ms. Milica Berdovic - Production of platic packages (bottles for milk) received I prize (1.500 EURO)

For more info see: www.trebinjedanas.com, and www.linkmostar.org



MOSTAR, Bosnia and Herzegovina - The best women ideas awarded!

Report on Adult Entrepreneurship Training – Mostar, 12-21. January 2006
Business Plan Development

In cooperation between BIP Norway (Business Innovation Programs) and LINK Mostar (Association for Entrepreneurship and Business) the training for future women entrepreneurs was organized in period of 12-21, January.
During the training 15 women got chance to learn about business plan development and how to make a good financial plan that is necessary for getting bank loan when starting or expanding their businesses.

At the end of training participants presented the business ideas and plans to jury that was consisted of representatives of BIP, LINK, local bank and one experienced entrepreneur. Since there was lots of excellent ideas and it was very difficult for jury to choose the best 3 business plans, the 1st prize of 1.500 euros was given to Jordanka Orlovic for production of south fruits typical for Herzegovina (dog-rose berry, cherry, dried fig); the 2nd prize of 1.000 euros received Ramiza Zukanovic with project of upholster, decorator and tailor; and finally the 3rd prize of 500 euros belonged to Alma Milavic with production of hand crafts – weaving, knitting, sawing, crochet work.

The winners should invest received prizes into their businesses, and with help from LINK and also other entrepreneur associations hopefully they would succeed to survive on tough market.


Best Student Enterprise in 2004

The Third Central Student Enterprise Fair was held in Banja Luka on 1st April 2005. The total number of Bosnian students participating was 336, from 87 student companies and 15 schools. There were also 6 student companies from Croatia, Serbia and Norway competing for the award ‘Best Foreign Student Company’. The Bosnian students competed in three main categories: ‘Best Stand’, ‘Best Business Plan’ and ‘‘Best Product/Service’. The ‘Overall Best Student Company’ with the total highest score was “Quattro” from the Technical School in Banja Luka with their sowing machine for seed.










BIP Optika Bosnia 2004

BIP Optika Bosnia 2004 was a project carried out in cooperation between BIP and Buskerud University College’s Institute of Optometry (Norway). In April 2004, five final-year students spent four weeks in different villages outside the city of Banja Luka in Republika Srbska. Their task was to screen the eyes of elderly people selected by the local health service and having no means. In addition they were to screen retarded children in an institution in Banja Luka. Before the fieldwork started, spectacles and optometric equipment were collected from Norwegian opticians. 716 persons were screened and 848 pairs of adapted spectacles were given out. The students said many people had their quality of life very much improved by a pair of glasses. Suddenly, activities like sewing and reading were again possible.

Business Innovation Programs

The cooperation between BIP and Buskerud University College first started in 1999 and fieldwork from final-year students has previously been carried out both in Bosnia and Croatia. In 2005, the project will probably be carried out in Serbia and Montenegro.



Student Enterprise Program in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)

Business Innovation Programs



The first Central BiH Student Enterprise Fair was held in Sarajevo in April 2003. In 2004, the second annual Central Fair was held in Tuzla. The number of participating Student Enterprises increased from 54 to 81 and competed in the categories: most innovative product, best stand at the Fair, best business plan and best overall student enterprise. The Student Enterprise (SE) program in BiH is run jointly by the Open Society Fund Bosnia and Herzegovina and BIP. Its purpose is to develop a sense of entrepreneurship amongst young people of high-school age, and to provide real-life business activities to help develop knowledge, skills and experience valuable for career planning and life in general. Participants include students, teachers, entrepreneurs and local communities.



Mrs. Grethe Fossum, member of the Loan Fund Board and former member of the Norwegian Parliament, visited the Fair in Tuzla. She talked with all of the participants and tells she met enthusiastic young people that believe in the future, something that is actually rare in Bosnia. She thinks many of the ideas can be turned into viable businesses, but more importantly she says, is that young people learn methods of how to create their own jobs.

The SE program is run in 20 high schools in 10 towns throughout Bosnia and so far 139 Student Enterprises have been established. 580 students have participated in the program as well as 65 local entrepreneurs. Three seminars have also been held for 30 teachers. Student Enterprises from Bosnia have also successfully participated in two International SE Fairs. The hope is that the program can be expanded to include most high schools in BiH, and be fully run and supported by the educational system, local communities, local businesses and BiH centrally.




Computer Training Centers in Bosnia

BIP has established its own Computer Training Centres in Mostar and Banja Luka (same concept as in Vukovar).

 

Business Innovation Programs · P.O. Box 613 · N-1522 Norway
Tel.: +47 916.33.440 · E-mail: · Internet: www.bips.no
Registered no.: NO 980 601 714