On 1st Action conference, held in Sarajevo on 25th of May, 120.000 BAM was granted for ten associations that have shown initiative and perspective business plans in social entrepreneurship.
Are the entrepreneurial activities of associations in Bosnia and Herzegovina a response to the worsening situation regard to their financing, or are they an additional uncertainty for organizations that often care for vulnerable members of our society? This issue was one of the key topics of discussion at the first action-conference “Enterprise associations: Model for the (in) stability” which was held and organized by the Center for Civil Society Promotion (CCSP).
20 CSOs from Bosnia and Herzegovina for almost 6 months were going through 5 modules in order to learn how to create or upgrade social enterprise. Selection of 10 CSOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina who received financial and technical support in the implementation of the business ideas was based on an assessment of business plans developed by 20 CSOs during capacity building activity and were submitted to Smart Start consortium members.
One of these associations is “Nešto više” from Mostar, which has registered “EKO Design LLC”, a socially responsible company that has as a focus on agriculture and rural development, and it is based on a many year experience of the association members.
These are the other nine associations that are creating a social enterprise and that were granted:
Association “Informative center Lotos” which is creating a social enterprise “INTRAG LLC” for professional rehabilitation and employment of people with disabilities.
“Neretva Delta Forum” which wants to create a social enterprise that has a focus on the promotion of natural, cultural, economic area of the delta Neretva.
“Social Educative Center Banja Luka” which is a specialized institution for the professional education of adults in the field of social professions.
“Alliance of associations of war camp survivors in Sarajevo Canton” which is creating a social enterprise “Woolmania trade” that has a focus in manufacturing unique handcrafts made of wool.
“Eco Tvrtkovac” which want to promote ecological culture, the culture of living and keeping the environment clean.
Association “Centers for Civil initiatives” (CCI) which is creating a social enterprise “Creativo center LLC” that has a focus on video production, training and consultation, IT and web development, marketing etc.
Association of citizens “Agora” which wants to create a social enterprise which will reduce unemployment in Tuzla and has a focus on organizing educative courses in various fields.
Association “Smile for a Smile” which wants to create a social enterprise “Training house Labirint” that has a focus on organizing meals for participants that come on educations, organizing accommodations and rooms for training, safe work in the office etc.
Association “ECOSOL” which wants to create the social enterprise that will have a focus on creating innovative products that will help the environment.
Aida Daguda, director of CCSP, said that associations often serve as mini incubators for social enterprises, which often provides employment for vulnerable people categories and is a resource for the activities of the associations that has established them, but unfortunately, without any supports from the state. Although the legislations that regulate the operations of the associations and foundations in Bosnia and Herzegovina allow economic activities of associations, in accordance with its registered activity, it is necessary to provide special programs to supports these initiatives, as well as campaigns for legal framework regulation of social entrepreneurship.
Amila Pilav-Velić, PhD of Entrepreneurship and inovativity, from the Department of Management and Information Technology at the Faculty of Economics in Sarajevo, emphasized the importance of civil society organizations networking, because one cross-linked critical mass can contribute to the adaptation of strategies that will help those who are starting to engage in social entrepreneurship.
The action conference was completed with a special panel in which participant had the opportunity to get advice from the experts related to the establishment and management of companies, as well to share their experiences. This topic was of a great importance for the sustainability of the civil sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was recommended for the associations that they have to pay more attention to a serious planning and implementation of similar activities, with careful evaluation of the impact of economic activities on the worth of the association.
The next step in Smart Start project is to sign the contracts with 10 CSOs that are granted. Financial support per one selected CSO is in the amount of maximum EUR 6.170 with requested contribution by CSO in a minimum of 10%. The grant that CSOs have received can be used as a start-up fund for selected CSOs, and eligible costs will be related to purchasing the necessary equipment, services, education of staff, material etc.