Employment creation

ILO supports first entrepreneurial steps and contributes to the creation of more than 120 new businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina

A consortium consisting of the German GIZ, UNDP and the ILO implemented a private sector development project, “EU4Business” in Bosnia and Herzegovina funded by the European Union and Germany. The ILO assisted start-ups as a means to job creation. The four-year project recently came to an end – it is time to take stock of what the ILO achieved.

News | 01 September 2022
The key achievement of the ILO component was to support the establishment of 123 new businesses. These new enterprises created 145 new jobs so far. The ILO trained new entrepreneurs, gave grants for the best business plans and provided complementary mentorship. A few selected profiles of young entrepreneurs illustrate the talent that characterizes the start-up scene in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

One of the new businesses supported through EU4Business is “Šapa Lab Furniture” from Sarajevo, a new company specialized in producing accessories for pets established in 2020. 

“The idea for my business emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic when I had the time to design furniture and accessories for pets that would be a novelty on the market. Without EU4Business and the mentors who helped me, my idea would have never translated into a viable business plan”, said Alma Subašić, 28-year-old owner of Šapa Lab Furniture. “The moment I learnt that I received a grant and technical support, I knew there was no going back. We had to turn this idea into reality.” Alma’s new business started well and currently engages five associates: product designer, carpenters, and tailors.

Šapa Lab Furniture ©Šapa Lab Furniture

Aleksandar Kovač, a student at the Faculty of Medicine in Banja Luka, is also among the beneficiaries of EU4Business. Combining his area of education and opportunities for new online services, Aleksandar launched the online platform “e-Clinic”. 

Aleksandar Kovač  ©ILO

“The platform simplifies the way patients book appointments and provides all the relevant information in one place. It also makes record keeping easier”, said Aleksandar. The e-Clinic platform is currently used by eight health institutions who pay a monthly fee, while it is free of charge for patients. Currently, there are 531 registered users and 3,850 appointments made monthly. Aleksandar plans to expand on number of end users by introducing Android and iOS versions of the platform in 2023. “For me, the EU4Business project and ILO’s support was a turning point in terms of entrepreneurship. With top mentors, I have learned the key requirements to keep a business afloat and successful”, he stressed. 

The fact that the EU4Business project provided assistance for businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the extremely challenging times of the pandemic, makes these results even more important. These start-ups did not only survive but most of them managed to grow and create jobs.

About the project:

EU4Business is a 16.1 EUR million project supported by the European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany, jointly implemented by GIZ, ILO and UNDP from 2018 to 2022. The project aimed to strengthen the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and advance perspectives for stronger exports and new employment. In total, more than 900 new jobs were created through this project.