Social entrepreneurship in BiH

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Social Entrepreneurship in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Being a social entrepreneur in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) society is very challenging. Unfavorable business environment, market dynamics that do not have enough sensitivity towards socially excluded groups, insufficient awareness of the importance and opportunities of social entrepreneurship, etc. are just some of the obstacles facing social enterprises and social entrepreneurs in BiH.

First of all, the potential of social enterprises and entrepreneurs in BiH is not sufficiently recognized. Similar to other countries, unemployment is one of the key problems in BiH. Poverty is particularly pronounced, especially for people with limited employment opportunities, such as young people, persons with disabilities, etc. Difficult social situation imposes a need for finding new and sustainable solutions that can meet the needs of unemployed and social excluded persons. Social entrepreneurship can be the mainstay of desired changes with the appropriate and greater systemic support advocated by the Coalition “United We Can More.”

This Coalition is the first and the largest network for the development of social entrepreneurship formed by activists of CDP „Globus.“ The Coalition’s overall objective is to support the creation of a more favorable environment for the development of social entrepreneurship in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The specific objectives of the Coalition are: establishing an infrastructure base to support the development of social entrepreneurship in BiH, raising awareness and informing about the importance and opportunities offered by social entrepreneurship, building the capacity of NGOs to develop and implement concrete ideas of social business, and strengthening cooperation between private and civil sector on the implementation of social entrepreneurship programs / projects.

We see that benefits of networking of organizations in the field of social entrepreneurship are numerous. Above all, they are reflected in possibilities of jointly launching initiatives for the improvement of environment for the development of social entrepreneurship, realization of concrete projects, the provision of professional and advisory support among member organizations, etc.

The general public in Bosnia and Herzegovina is generally little aware of the concept of social entrepreneurship, which is why the role and significance of this sector is often misunderstood and interpreted. There are no official definition/s of social enterprises as they exist in the countries of the European Union and the world. Following the criteria of relevant worldwide research relating to the importance of social goals in relation to economic goals; investing surplus/profit in activities of social importance and applying innovations, in business practice of Bosnia and Herzegovina we recognize social enterprises in the form of associations of citizens, cooperatives, companies employing persons with disabilities, etc. The objectives of existing social enterprises are mainly dedicated to addressing poverty, unemployment and similar socio-economic problems.

Lately, NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina have shown increasing interest in social entrepreneurship, but their capacity to implement such initiatives is still limited.  The development of social entrepreneurship in Bosnia and Herzegovina requires larger, concrete and systematic support, which implies an adequate legal framework, accompanying support measures and their full implementation.