Social Impact Award Montenegro officially kicked-off

Today in hotel Centreville, a Social Impact Award (SIA) program was presented. The program supports and awards young people with ideas for starting a social enterprise. Social Impact Award – SIA is the largest international project on the topic of social enterprise, dedicated to young people. It was initiated in 2009 by Impact Hub Vienna, in partnership with Erste Foundation and Vienna University of Economics and Business.

Young social entrepreneurs will be able to apply their ideas, and the best teams will receive mentoring support, a startup capital of € 1,500 and a trip to an international summit held this year in the Czech capital, Prague. For this program. Applicants could be both university and high school students, as well as all individuals or teams consisted of members from 16 to 30 years of age. The applications of projects will be available until the 15th of May on the platform

Focus of this program is on the young people who are willing to contribute to the work on social changes and be a part of the development of social entrepreneurship in the country and abroad. The program is implemented today in over 15 countries from Europe, Asia and Africa and includes over 8,000 young people a year.

– Mission of the Social Impact Award program is to be a window into the world of social entrepreneurship for young people, who want to start a business and make an influence when it comes to solving certain problems in the community like unemployment, ecology, the rights of women and marginalized groups, rural development etc. The essence of social entrepreneurship is a business that makes a profit, but at the same time solves some of the social problems, whether it is the employment of vulnerable social groups or solving problems of local communities, stated Anto Jankovic, the President of CEPS, which implements the program on the Montenegrin territory.

He said that the program was designed as a trip to the world of entrepreneurship through four social impacts that SIA realizes: 1. Raising awareness and creating an emotional connection with the world of entrepreneurship among young people, 2. Education and improvement of knowledge and skills of young people, 3. Support for the ideas that have a potential for realization and positive social impact, 4. Creating a community – a micro eco-system among young entrepreneurs who will become “a role model” for other young people to enter the world of entrepreneurship.

Radosav Babic, Director General of Directorate for Investments, Development of SMEs and Management of EU Funds, opened the event on behalf of the Ministry of Economy.

The Ministry of Economy is implementing a series of measures and programs to strengthen the competitiveness of the Montenegrin economy, through which it stimulates creativity, affirmation of entrepreneurship and job creation. Through the MSME Development Strategy 2018-2022, the strengthening of youth entrepreneurship has been recognized as one of the strategic goals with defined activities and its carriers.

 “During 2019, the Ministry of Economy successfully implemented the Program for Improving the Competitiveness of the Economy, which supported 307 companies, while the approved subsidy amounted to EUR 1,661,459.00. Following the growth trends of both the interest and the number of supported users of all programs (an increase of 204% in 2019 compared to 2018), in 2020 we expect a continuing upward trend in the number of enterprises, as well as a higher participation of young entrepreneurs who will be supported through this program”, Babic pointed out.

Within this year’s Program for the Improvement of the Competitiveness of the Economy, aiming at encouraging young entrepreneurs up to 35 years of age, as well as women in business, within certain program lines for these categories, the support intensities are higher than with other applying companies.

Dragana Crvenica, Director of Communications at Erste Bank Podgorica, said that Erste Bank has supported the Social Impact Award program from the beginning, as it wants to influence the development of entrepreneurial spirit among young people and invest in projects that bring good to the community.

“The Social Impact Award, which is supported throughout the region by our sister banks Erste and Sparkasse, as well as by the Erste Foundation in Vienna, is a program through which we want to empower young people and encourage them to take action. Erste Bank supports the program by giving start-up capital, ie donation, as well as by sharing knowledge through the incubation and mentoring processes. We would be extremely happy if we continued to support the projects in the coming years, but as clients – because it would mean that they were successful and that they had started, that social business became sustainable and had the potential to develop, “Crvenica said.

Adrijana Stevanovic, head of the Finance in Motion Office for Montenegro, said she was pleased that the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), managed by Finance in Motion, Frankfurt, is one of the partners of the Social Impact Award program.

“The mission of the EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy, established by the EFSE Fund, is to support entrepreneurs and their new businesses in cooperation with local partners through guidance, resources, mentoring and networking opportunities, which increases the chance of receiving financial support and other necessary funding. to turn good ideas into successful businesses. In this way, EFSE’s Entrepreneurship Academy and its partners help create an environment in which entrepreneurs can succeed”, said Stevanovic.

Organizers announced that info sessions and workshops will be held on the territory of 11 Montenegrin municipalities: Podgorica, Niksic, Cetinje, Herceg Novi, Kotor, Tivat, Budva, Bar, Savnik, Bijelo Polje and Berane, and that young people from the entire Montenegrin territory, up to 30 years of age, can apply to participate in the program.

The Social Impact Award program in Montenegro is implemented by the CEPS in partnership with the Ministry of Economy of Montenegro, Erste Bank Podgorica and the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE). The sponsors of the program are the Investment and Development Fund of Montenegro and the Fund for Active Citizenship-FAKT. Local partners of the program are the Capital of Podgorica and the municipalities of Herceg Novi, Kotor, Budva and Savnik, as well as the University of Donja Gorica, Faculty of Business Economics and Law Bar, M:tel Digital Factory, Science and Technology Park of Montenegro, IPC Tehnopolis, Regional Business Center Berane, Institute for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, Union of Young Entrepreneurs of Montenegro, Union of High School Students of Montenegro, Office for Youth Budva, Tivat Youth Club and Berane Youth Club.