Beginning of the project “Development of Youth Entrepreneurship in Serbia”
Belgrade, October 28, 2008 - The Ministry of Youth and Sport in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development began the realization of the project of non-financial support to young people (training) as potential applicants for start-up loans offered by the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development, as entrepreneurship skills are recognized as some of most important measures of the economic development of the Republic of Serbia. Therefore, the Memorandum on Understanding has been signed today and the realization of project “Development of Youth Entrepreneurship in Serbia” has officially begun.
Project was presented by the Minister of Youth and Sport Snezana Samardzic Markovic, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Regional Development Mladjan Dinkic, Director of the Serbian Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Entrepreneurship Goran Dzafic, Norwegian Ambassador His Excellency Haakon Blankenborg and General Manager of the Business Innovation Programs Jon Steinar Ostgard.
The project was developed by the Serbian Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Entrepreneurship and Norwegian non-profit organisation Business Innovation Programs (BIP), in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Sport and the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development.
The project is supposed to begin in October 2008 and it will last for a year. Project objectives are assistance to young people in Serbia to establish own enterprises through trainings, increasing number of newly established companies and providing self-employment of young people, as well as active promotion of the idea of self-employment. Target group of the project are young people age from 18 to 35 with a business idea they want to realise or find out about its profitability and sustainability.
"My vision is that one day not only will young people be employees, but also employers.” Minister of Youth and Sport Snezana Samardzic Markovic said and added that about 80% of young people work for employers and that unemployment is one of the greatest problems that young people face. Speaking of previous experience with start-up loans, the Minister of Economy and Regional Development Mladjan Dinkic added that this is an excellent opportunity for young people to test their own business ideas and start individual sustainable businesses. Goran Dzafic said that this is a brilliant example of the cooperation between two ministries and public agency, and added that the project implementation will start immediately with the first seminar to be organised in Ivanjica. His Excellency Haakon Blankenborg, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway in Serbia, said that this is not only about the donation, but also the cooperation of two countries and in this way, it will encourage the development of business creativity. He also said that he is pleased to cooperate with two creative ministers, whose Ministries are immediately engaged in the project realization. General Manager of Business Innovation Programs Jon Steinard Ostgard said that the program of pupils’ enterprises with the participation of 35 schools and 1200 pupils began in cooperation with the former Minister of Finance, Mladjan Dinkic. Mr. Ostgard also said that he hoped that the project would include even more young people, as 14 local agencies took part in the project realization.
The Ministry of Youth and Sport is the Project Owner. The Ministry of Economy and Regional Development is responsible for defining and implementation of the Strategy for development of small and medium-size enterprises. The Serbian Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Entrepreneurship is responsible for project implementation through 14 regional agencies for support to small and medium enterprises. BIP is responsible for trainer’s training for the process of prequalification, professional follow-up of trainers and the quality of the process.
During the project realization, the following activities will be implemented:
- Trainer’s training – three step programme, forming groups of trainers based on experience of the Serbian Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Entrepreneurship and BIP;
- During 12 months, 700 young people will be trained in 14 agencies (practical training on business plans)
- Funding of best business ideas
- Organisation of the 4th Youth Entrepreneurship Fair (forum for presenting new technologies and ideas)
- Promotion of the idea of self-employment (campaign, media activities)
National Youth Strategy defined unemployment as one of the greatest issues young people face nowadays. Self-employment and start-up of business may present a very important solution and incentive to the economy in Serbia in the forthcoming period.