We present six young teams that will develop their initiatives for positive changes in the community during the RISE program! 

Over 50 interested young people from Serbia applied for the open call to participate in the RISE program in October 2022. The expert committee had the difficult task of choosing 6 ideas and teams that will participate in the program from among the great business ideas for solving the most diverse social and environmental problems. 

RISE – Regional Incubator for Social Entrepreneurs has been implementing a free support program for the development of social entrepreneurship ideas for the third year in a row. The program takes place simultaneously in six Balkan countries with the aim of enabling motivated and dedicated young people to develop their ideas and make the region a better place. During the 3-month “ideation phase”, six teams in six countries will develop their idea from scratch to a business model. On that journey, they will have the support of experts and mentors, with whom they will go through all the important steps in starting a social enterprise. After that, the two best teams from Serbia will be selected, or a total of 12 teams from the region, who will receive additional financial and practical support to implement their idea and improve the development of their business in the “incubation phase”. 

See what ideas the selected teams will develop to make positive changes in their community: 

The “Blatology” team decided to combine their love for ecology and environmental protection with their knowledge of architecture. They became interested in the traditional method of building mud houses, which they want to preserve and thereby support all those who return to nature. Through educating the owners of mud houses about their proper renovation, the quality of life in them will be raised, and the knowledge and houses built in this way, which are part of the cultural heritage, will be preserved. 

The “Mitrovački soko” team wants to pay attention to young people from rural areas who are often isolated due to their social status and the lack of activities aimed at their age. Through the organization of camps, they will offer programs aimed at young people, but also involve them in volunteer actions to restore public institutions that are significant for that local community. 

The “Psihološko savetovalište“ (Psychological Counselling) team wants to draw attention to the importance of mental health, especially in small communities where going to a psychologist is still a stigma. Through the organization of workshops, forums and other public events, the members of this team want to raise awareness about mental health and help in solving a problem with many suicides and the existence of stigma around seeking psychological help in small communities. 

The “Radionica” (Workshop) team wants to open a common space of the same name that would be available for everyone who is engaged in various hobbies that require more space, or need inspiration, help, a machine, additional knowledge, and maybe later training. They want to enable wider access to knowledge, but also to specialized tools in the field of carpentry, upholstery and other related trades, as well as to encourage young people to try out these skills and realize their creative and business ideas more easily. 

The “Treasure Belgrade” team has an idea to empower small producers and freelance artists with the help of tourism! They want to organize very specific guided tours of Belgrade that would include young people from Children’s Shelter “Svratište” to get the opportunity to contact other cultures, improve their English and gain knowledge in the field of art and tourism. 

The team “Vreme je za pravu šansu” (It’s time for a real chance) wants to help people who have served a prison sentence to re-join the labour market. Their idea is to open a shelter for dogs, as well as a workshop for making pet items. In this way, a business opportunity would be opened for people who stayed in penal institutions, the knowledge and skills they acquired there would be used, but also it would contribute to the reduction of the large number of abandoned animals in the vicinity of Nis. 

Smart Kolektiv, the organization that implements the RISE program in Serbia, thanks everyone who took the time to think about how they could contribute to their community. All the ideas that have arrived are smart, innovative and valuable, and despite the impossibility of including everyone who applied in the program, we encourage them to continue with their solidarity intentions. 

The RISE project is being developed and supervised by a consortium consisting of GROUPE SOS Pulse, Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), Youth Network of Southeast Europe (SEEIN) and the French-German Youth Office (OFAJ), and six local incubators – Smart Kolektiv, IPC Technopolis, ARNO, Balkan Green Foundation, Nesto vise and Yunus Social Business. RISE is co-financed by French Development  Agency (AfD), Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) and the European Union (EU). More about RISE program >> https://www.risewb.org/