The fair of new businesses “LiNKed to support businesses”, where 26 new entrepreneurs from the area of Konjic, Mostar and Prozor-Rama presented their products and services, was held as part of the Konjic Day celebration. The fair was held with the aim of promoting new businesses established within the “LiNK4StartUps” project, which is implemented by the Local Partnership for Employment Konjic, Mostar and Prozor-Rama, and which supported the creation of new businesses that lead vulnerable categories to the labor market.
Equipment for starting new businesses in the value of 194,400 BAM was awarded at the fair and started businesses operating in the sectors of souvenir production, production of typical products, 3D design, agriculture, tourism and service activities were presented.
This local partnership is one of the five established local partnerships for employment within the project “EU4BusinessRecovery – for a strong domestic economy”, jointly financed by the European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany.
– By supporting businesses in BiH, the European Union acts as an investor in the future of BiH as a member of the EU and the unified market, and not as a donor. We want to see successful companies in BiH, because they are the initiators of changes that have a wider benefit for the entire country. These 26 new businesses are another concrete example of the European Union’s support for the citizens of this country and just one part of the comprehensive EU support for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Union has provided more than 100 million euros in grants to strengthen the local economy and the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises – said Elisabet Tomasinec, Head of the Political Department of the Delegation of the European Union and the Office of the Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The local partnership for employment Konjic, Mostar and Prozor-Rama started as a pilot project that developed into a strong partnership thanks to which 26 new businesses run by women, young people and other vulnerable categories were established in the area of the three cities.
– The project turned out to be excellent. Earlier, we implemented the same project in the area of Jablanica, Kakanj and Konjic, which resulted in the creation of 40 new businesses, all thanks to the support of the European Union. We justified their trust, they recognized our work and effort and again awarded us a project worth 350,000 BAM for the area of Konjic, Mostar and Prozor-Rama. Thanks to that, more than 70 people participated in building entrepreneurial skills, of which 26 new entrepreneurs presented themselves today, i.e. 26 jobs – said Alisa Gekić, executive director of the Association for Entrepreneurship and Business LiNK Mostar.
On that occasion, they awarded certificates for the equipment that was handover, and in addition to the EU support of the local administration of Konjic, Mostar and Prozor-Rama, they supported the initiative and allocated additional funds to co-finance the costs of contributions in the first months of work.
– It is known that many businesses close after a year of operation, but practice has shown that our businesses survive in more than 60 percent of cases. In the coming period, we will work on the tourist offer of the city of Konjic, strengthening the capacity of municipalities and cities as tourist destinations, as well as places with a favorable business environment – said Gekić.
The users of the project did not hide their satisfaction for the opportunity to start their own businesses and start living from their work, and to go through valuable training on running a business and entering the market.
– We are the ones who decide whether we will take advantage of the opportunities presented to us in life. I took advantage of the opportunity and, thanks to the support of the European Union and the International Labor Organization, I started producing souvenirs and in this way I contribute to the promotion of Konjic as a tourist destination – said Arnel Halilović, beneficiary of the grant.
Konjic is proud to be the host of the fair and a partner in this project. One of the city’s strategic goals is to support the creation of new businesses and create conditions for survival of young people in Konjic, emphasized Osman Ćatić, the mayor of Konjic.
– For this purpose, we have allocated 500,000 BAM through the budget for 2023 for active employment measures in order to maintain this continuity and support all positive ideas and give a “tailwind” to everyone who needs this support. Thanks to the support of the European Union, new businesses will also receive additional support in the form of mentoring and counseling in the first months of work, as well as co-financing of contribution costs for six months – concluded Ćatić.
The fair of new businesses ” LiNKed to support businesses” was organized by a partnership consisting of LiNK Mostar, the City of Mostar, the City of Konjic, the Municipality of Prozor-Rama, the Employment Service of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, the University of Džemal Bijedić Mostar – Faculty of Economics, the companies RadIN Mostar and Eurosjaj Konjic.
The EU4BusinessRecovery project aims to reduce the consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on agricultural and tourism enterprises, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the metal and wood sector, the textile, clothing, leather, and footwear production sector, as well as on entrepreneurs and farmers.
The project ensures the continuity of the company’s operations and establishment of innovative start-ups, to preserve existing and secure new jobs. EU4BusinessRecovery is a continuation of the EU4Business project, and it is worth 13.7 million euros, and it is jointly financed by the European Union (13 million euros) and the Federal Republic of Germany (700,000 euros). It is implemented by the ILO, UNDP and GIZ.