Switzerland invests into BiH youth for change

Press releases, 28.04.2019

Strengthening civic engagement and mobilizing young people is an important aspect of the Swiss Cooperation Program in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The Swiss Embassy in BiH has recognized the MOZAIK Foundation as a new partner in these efforts and will invest 7 million KM in the Foundation’s youth projects over the next four years. The support is intended for young people who decide to go into entrepreneurship and launch their own businesses which will be of broader interest to all citizens in their local communities.

Representatives of the Swiss Embassy in BiH with the Mozaik team
Representatives of the Swiss Embassy in BiH with the Mozaik team © SDC

“Switzerland supports efforts to empower young people to become leaders and agents of change in BiH. We are convinced by Mozaik’s approach because it has a long-term vision and is value-based. The projects will support young people who are seriously motivated to engage in youth-led community projects. If successful they will be further supported to become social entrepreneurs and create decent and sustainable jobs. As active and engaged members of society, these young people will create employment opportunities and improve the living conditions of all residents in their local communities. They will serve as role models for other young people and lay the groundwork for new social and economic values in their local communities”, stated Barbara Dätwyler Scheuer, Director of Cooperation at the Swiss Embassy in BiH.

Young people are encouraged to seek socially innovative and economically sustainable solutions to answer the needs of their local communities. In cooperation with representatives of 33 municipalities and 15 private and public donors, Mozaik provides financial support for youth projects: by mid-2022 young people will run 2,000 projects through the Youth Bank Program, and through the Social Business incubator Impact 120 social businesses and 120 microbusinesses will be launched. The promotion of social entrepreneurship aims to strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit of young people and support employment and self-employment.

"We are proud that the Government of Switzerland has recognized our strategy as a good mechanism to activate as many young people as possible who seek to contribute to both economic and social development of BiH. Thanks to this support, Mozaik will continue to find the best solutions for every young person to get a fair opportunity to succeed and become a productive member of our society”, said Zoran Puljić, Director of the Mozaik Foundation.

Young people also have the opportunity to test their business ideas and receive professional and financial assistance through the LONAC community. Through this platform, they can get information about entrepreneurship opportunities, donations for their projects and microbusinesses, about investments for prototype testing or the registration of a social business and about loans without collateral and professional support through mentoring programs. The LONAC platform already has over 19,500 active members who are turning their dreams into reality with the support of the Swiss Government and other partners.

Special attention will be given to increasing synergies with other projects in BiH supported by Switzerland including the Youth Employment Project (YEP) in order to coordinate the joint promotion of the social entrepreneurship concept. The Integrated Local Development Project (ILDP) will advocate to include youth strategy development into integrated local development planning within the municipalities. And the project Strengthening the Role of Local Communities (MZ) will promote the Youth Bank and the Impact Incubator among young people and their partner local communities.