TO STRENGTHEN LOCAL PLAYERS
Building the capacity of the social entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Western Balkans region
In a consortium, PULSE Balkans is supporting six local incubators in the deployment of a regional program to support social entrepreneurship among young people in the six contracting parties of the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia).
In this way, RISE aims to nurture a new generation of entrepreneurs in the region, fostering the creation of innovative solutions to the challenges facing their communities.
*The designation “Kosovo” must be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, without prejudice to the status of Kosovo. It is under this designation that Kosovo sits on the RYCO.
Phase 1 of the regional program to support social entrepreneurship in the Western Balkans, called RISE (Regional Incubator for Social Entrepreneurs), piloted since 2019 by PULSE and implemented in partnership, with the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), the Office Franco-Allemand pour la Jeunesse (OFAJ), the Institut Français, the South East European Youth Network (SEEYN), closed in September 2022. The overall aim of the project was to open up new spaces of reconciliation for youth in the Western Balkans through social entrepreneurship.
Phase 2 began on October 1, 2022, and will run for 3 years. It benefits from renewed support from AFD, OFAJ and RYCO, as well as from the European Union.
Two generations of entrepreneurs have been supported during promotions, known as “RISE Journeys”. In all, some 282 young people took part in the ideation phases (58% of whom were women, and 70% of the projects developed outside the capital cities).
During the incubation phase, 24 projects were supported through a program combining individual follow-up, group training, mobility activities and regional networking.
- 129 young entrepreneurs supported
- 97 entrepreneurial projects supported
Fostering conditions conducive to the development of the social economy is not an easy job, but it’s a very honorable one. Thanks to their tireless work on social initiatives, their desire to progress and learn, and by elevating their social entrepreneurship skills to the level of exceptional professionals ready to attack the market and produce added value for the community, we have witnessed the rise of exceptional young people from across WB6 over the course of 2022.
What’s more, the development of new lasting bonds and teamwork between these young people gives us hope that we are helping to strengthen social cohesion for a prosperous and peaceful Western Balkans region.
PULSE Balkans Project Coordinator