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EACEA National Policies Platform
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.10 Promotion of entrepreneurship culture

Last update: 7 March 2024

The largest entrepreneurial network active in BiH is the European Entrepreneurship Network (EEN). The EEN Network was established in 2009 in BiH, just one year after it was established in the EU. It was created within the European project of the Euro-info correspondent centre in BiH.

Since 2015, there have been two EEN consortia in BiH: the EEN consortium in FBiH and the EEN consortium in RS.

The EEN network consortium in FBiH consists of:

  1. BiH Foreign Trade Chamber

  2. Sarajevo Regional Development Agency SERDA

  3. University of Sarajevo

  4. INTERA Technology Park Mostar

  5. BIT Centre Tuzla

  6. Zenica Development Agency ZEDA

  7. Development Agency of Una-Sana Canton RA-USK

The EEN network in FBiH does not put a direct focus on young entrepreneurs through its activities, but encourages the development of entrepreneurship, their education, and seeks to improve the economic position of the region and support individuals to realize their entrepreneurial potential by providing adequate knowledge, skills and initial resources through its members and partners., The unemployed young persons, but also people with many years of business experience, are continuously educated through INTERA Technology Park Mostar in order to better follow the trends and survive in the modern business world.

On the other hand, the BIT Centre Tuzla aims to enable young promising professionals and entrepreneurs to establish and develop their business in the field of information and communication technologies. There are three types of companies / projects supported through the BIT Centre, and they are: "Idea development" (projects), "Start-up" companies and companies with growth and development potential.

The EEN network consortium in RS consists of:

  1. RS Development Agency

  2. RS Chamber of Commerce

  3. Innovation Centre Banja Luka

  4. University of East Sarajevo

  5. University of Banja Luka

The EEN network in RS also does not place a direct focus on young entrepreneurs, but the RS Development Agency is responsible for, among other things, providing support for the development of youth entrepreneurship.

The UNDP report on the Analysis of Barriers to Entrepreneurship Development in BiH states that "the entrepreneurial culture in BiH is at an unsatisfactory level, according to 21.4% of respondents, with an additional 41.1% of responses also indicating poor assessment (grades 2 and 3). As many as 73.2% of surveyed entrepreneurs have no practice of holding meetings with ministries and government bodies, which further ranks the business culture in BiH as unsupportive among the respondents who participated in this study. Probably due to previous experiences with chambers of commerce, it can be said that there is no serious intention to establish future cooperation with chambers and other potentially useful institutions."

Resource Networks in BiH:

The term "resource networks" refers to institutions, agencies, and other associations that BiH entrepreneurs can use as a form of financial, infrastructural, or advisory support. When it comes to their ownership forms, a distinction should be made between public and private entities. The most important public institutions available to entrepreneurs are:

  • Federal Ministry of Development, Entrepreneurship, and Crafts - initiates activities that are important for entrepreneurship development through various forms of advisory, promotional, and financial incentives, and starts initiatives related to improving the business environment.

  • BiH Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations - responsible for foreign trade and customs-tariff policy of BiH, which serves entrepreneurs as a regulatory framework when creating foreign offers. Although it is not focused on providing financial incentives, the Ministry is responsible for the development and promotion of entrepreneurship both domestically and internationally.

  • Employment Services - as public institutions, provide financial incentives for employment through subsidizing contributions to net salaries on an annual or semi-annual basis.

  • RS Ministry of Economy and Entrepreneurship - its most important activities include providing support for the development of entrepreneurial infrastructure and planning and implementing procedures related to incentive funds aimed at entrepreneurship development and promotion. The Ministry also supports the development of women's entrepreneurship in the context of their application for funds from the European Union, as well as constantly works on forming databases and registers in the field of entrepreneurship.

  • FBiH Chamber of Economy - The chamber consists of a total of 12 chamber networks, including the FBiH Chamber of Economy of the Federation (office in Sarajevo), FBiH Chamber of Economy (office in Mostar), Chamber of Economy of the Sarajevo Canton (office in Sarajevo), Chamber of Economy of the Tuzla Canton (office in Tuzla), Chamber of Economy of the Una-Sana Canton (office in Bihac), Chamber of Economy of the Zenica-Doboj Canton (office in Zenica), Chamber of Economy of the Bosnian-Podrinje Canton (office in Gorazde), Chamber of Economy of the Posavina County (office in Orasje), Chamber of Economy of the West Herzegovina County (office in Posusje), Chamber of Economy of the Herzegovina-Neretva County (office in Livno), Chamber of Economy of the Central Bosnia Canton (office in Jajce), and Chamber of Economy of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton Mostar (office in Mostar). The most common activities of the chambers of economy are reflected in the organization of business information and education aimed at providing specific knowledge to entrepreneurs.

  • RS Chamber of Economy - This chamber consists of its regional chambers, namely: Regional Chamber of Economy Banja Luka, Regional Chamber of Economy Doboj, Regional Chamber of Economy East Sarajevo (office in Pale), Regional Chamber of Economy Trebinje, and Regional Chamber of Economy Bijeljina. Similar to the FBiH Chamber of Economy, the RS Chamber of Economy organizes its work mainly through the consolidation of business information available to members and through the organization of professional education and panel discussions on topics of interest to the entrepreneurial population.

  • BD Chamber of Economy - Unlike the previously mentioned chambers, this chamber does not provide access to financial support through various grants. Instead, its work is focused on providing assistance in various forms of information regarding the initiatives it undertakes, and providing training or education according to the needs of entrepreneurs who are chamber members.

  • Local Self-Governments - Part of the qualitative research was conducted with representatives of local self-governments, where it was concluded that some local self-governments have specially organized entrepreneurship centers. In addition, the most important role of local self-governments in entrepreneurship is that they represent the initial starting point in establishing crafts as a legal form. Local self-government units provide information and carry out establishment procedures, thus having insight into the number of established crafts at the level of their municipality. Unlike chambers of economy, all local self-governments have regular financial incentive programs directly through the economy department or a specially formed department in the form of entrepreneurship centers.

  • Sarajevo Regional Development Agency (SERDA) - Supports entrepreneur development mainly through specialized training programs. The year 2020 was marked as a period during which this agency organized a series of free education programs for developing successful applications to the funds of the European Union.

  • RARS - RS Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises Development - This Agency is responsible for providing support for the incentives of entrepreneurship establishment, operation and development, as well as providing constant support for infrastructure development. It is also responsible for researching and collecting data related to revising the state of entrepreneurship at the level of business zones in RS.

  • Other public resource networks organized by competent institutions - for example, Emerging Business Clinic implemented by the Center Municipality Sarajevo, Innovation Center Banja Luka, Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises Development Trebinje, City Development Agency of East Sarajevo, and many others.

Identified as the most important private resource networks are:

  • YEP - This organization represents a business idea incubator. In addition to financial support, YEP regularly publishes various types of calls aimed at stimulating other skills in entrepreneurship development, especially among young people.

  • LINK - Located in Mostar, this association provides support through various types of research beneficial to entrepreneurship in BiH, creates projects, offers various forms of education, and is available for the development of business ideas.

  • MOZAIC - Located in Sarajevo, this foundation supports young entrepreneurs in developing their ideas. One of the programs developed within the foundation is the Startup Studio, which offers future entrepreneurs an environment for idea development and implementation, not only through advisory but also through financial support.

  • INTERA TECHNOLOGY PARK - Offers specialized IT education, co-working spaces, business idea development counseling, and other forms of education through regular calls published on their portal.

  • SEENET - Located in Banja Luka, this organization provides support through the organization of seminars, webinars, conferences, and participates in the preparation of publications aimed at improving the business environment in BiH.

  • RIS ("NEŠTO VIŠE") - Through the "NEŠTO VIŠE" Association, RIS as a regional incubator for the development of social entrepreneurship, provides support for the development of business ideas. It offers support in education, networking, and sharing previous experiences.

  • AGORA - A foundation based in Banja Luka, provides support to young entrepreneurs from idea generation to implementation, offering not only advisory but also financial assistance.

  • Foundation 787 - Implements many programs aimed at developing the capacities of women and young entrepreneurs by offering various types of training, events, networking platforms, and various forms of business consulting. Users of this foundation's services can attend various programs, among which modules such as the development of an individually tailored business model, market research, and comprehensive knowledge regarding the legal framework within which legal entities operate stand out.

  • STARTUP STUDIO - Available at three addresses: Sarajevo, Banja Luka, and Bihac. This studio also provides information on accessing various grants and legal assistance in all stages of business operations.

  • GIRLS ADVANCE LAB - Organized as assistance to young women through a mentoring program, offering financial assistance in creating and developing business ideas.