Support to first entrepreneurial steps contributes to the creation of more than 120 new businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina
11 August 2022
ILO supports employment creation within the joint private sector development project, “EU4Business” in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
A consortium consisting of the German GIZ, UNDP and the ILO implemented a private sector development project, “EU4Business” in Bosnia and Herzegovina funded by the European Union and Germany. The ILO contribution focused on assistance to start-ups as a means to job creation. The four-year project recently came to an end – time to take stock of what the ILO achieved.
The key achievement of the ILO component was to support the establishment of 123 new businesses. The new enterprise created so far 145 new jobs. ILO’s most important inputs were entrepreneurship training, grants for the best business plans, and complementary mentorship. A few selected profiles of young start ups illustrate the talent of the start up scene in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
One of the new businesses supported through EU4Busines is Šapa Lab Furniture from Sarajevo, a new business specialized in producing accessories for pets established in 2020. “The idea for my business emerged during COVID19 when I had the time to design furniture and accessories for pets that would be something new on the market. Without this project and mentors who helped me, my idea would have never translated into a viable business plan”, said Alma Subašić, 28-year-old owner of Šapa Lab Furniture.
“The moment I learnt that I received a grant and technical support, I knew there was no going back. We had to turn this idea into reality.” Alma’s new business started well and currently engages five associates: product designer, carpenters, and tailors.
Aleksandar Kovač, a student at the Faculty of Medicine in Banja Luka, is also among the beneficiaries of EU4Business. Combining his area of education and opportunities for new online services, Aleksandar launched the online platform “e-Clinic”.
“The platform simplifies the way patients book appointments and provides all relevant information in one place, as well as makes easier record keeping”, said Aleksandar. Being at it’s very beginning, E-Clinic platform is currently used by eight health institutions who pay monthly fee, making it free of charge for patients. Aleksandar plans to expand number of end users by introducing Android and iOS versions of the platform in 2023. “For me, the EU4Business project and ILO’s support was a turning point in terms of entrepreneurship. With top mentors, I have learned the key requirements to keep a business afloat and successful”, he pointed out.
The success of the EU4Business project is even greater considering the challenges that businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina faced during the pandemic. “I would like to remind that all our beneficiaries have started their businesses in a very unfavorable socio-economic situation, in 2020 when the world was hit by the COVID19 pandemic, and yet they have not only survived but have continued to grow and create jobs. Today, many of them are not only self-employed, but are employers creating job opportunities for others”, said Lejla Tanović, National Coordinator of the ILO in BiH.
About the project:
EU4Business is EUR 16,1 million worth project supported by the European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany and jointly implemented by GIZ, ILO and UNDP from 2018 to 2022. The project aimed to strengthen the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and advance perspectives for stronger exports and new employment. In total, more than 900 new jobs were created through this project.