by Sandra Savanovic & Aleksandar Dodik
CEFistas from Serbia & Bosnia
CEFE Bosnia and Herzegovina (CEFE BH), within the Youth Employment Project (YEP) and financed by the Swiss Government, delivered Bosnia-wide CEFE training in business planning.
Training sessions were delivered in 24 towns and cities nationwide. In total, 294 training days were delivered, as well as 200 days of consulting and mentorship. The sessions were delivered by 15 CEFE trainers from the Balkans region (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia). Over 1,000 young people applied for the training sessions via the application form. After the selection process, 665 individuals were invited to participate.
The training modules covered standard CEFE business planning topics and followed the CEFE ladder (business idea generation and selection, risk management, market and marketing, internal organization, legal framework, cost structure, investment and finance) as well as soft skills (communication, negotiation, team building, etc.). Beyond these fundamentals, participants also learnt how to prepare their own business plans.
As ever, the training focused on experiential learning through numerous exercises and examples tailored to local business realities. The energy and motivation of the young attendees, together with their experienced trainers, created a very positive working environment and the final results exceeded all expectations. These youthful future entrepreneurs reacted very positively to the CEFE methodology and evaluated it as a “premium segment of the training market”, not just because their formal education hardly provides the opportunity to put theory into practice.
At the conclusion of the sessions, 173 participants successfully prepared business plans and presented them in front of a “dragon’s den” consisting of business consultants, local experts, representatives from the financial sector, and representatives of the YEP project. They all received additional support in the form of mentorship and further preparation for pitching to investors. After the final evaluation, the best business plans qualified for financial support from the YEP project and the Swiss government. The contracting process is currently ongoing. We will keep you informed about further developments!