“Common Threads” and “Link in Bioska” are the names of two young winning teams from Serbia that have secured financial support to develop their business ideas for solving social and environmental issues within the Regional Incubator for Social Entrepreneurs (RISE). 

During the four-month RISE program, with the support of mentors and experts from Smart Kolektiv team, six young teams developed their ideas for a better society, with the support of experts and mentors, from scratch to a business model. Along this journey, they went through all the important steps in launching a social enterprise and prepared to pitch their ideas to the jury and the public.

At the Demo Day held on February 13 in the inspiring space of “Kuća umetnica” in Belgrade, the jury composed of Neven Marinović from Smart Kolektiv; Vojin Radojičić from Pulse Group; Nikoleta Kosovac from the social enterprise Lice ulice; Milica Ličina from the social enterprise Anđeli; Davor Džakula from the Regional Office for Youth Cooperation (RYCO); Thibault Haïoun from the French Embassy in Belgrade; Tijana Jugović from the United States Embassy in Belgrade, and Matthieu Penot from the European Union Delegation to Serbia, had the challenging task of selecting two teams to receive further financial support to implement their socially significant business ventures. 

After impressive presentations, the jury decided to award financial support to the “Common Threads” team, which plans to develop a model for the labor inclusion of Romani women through the development of authentic textile products that integrate elements of Roma culture, and the “Link in Bioska” team, which is developing a rural household with cultural, entertainment, sports, and educational content, along with offering local products from its environment to contribute to the development of the local community and inspire other young people to return to the countryside and initiate similar initiatives. Additionally, a special award was given to the “Polimorf” team, which envisions enriching the cultural scene in New Belgrade by launching a festival and eventually a new cultural center. Alongside the winning teams, this team will participate in RISE’s Regional Mobility Program, where, through study trips in the region, young entrepreneurs will connect with their peers, explore similar concepts of social entrepreneurship, and exchange lessons learned during the RISE program. 

A representative of Smart Kolektiv, the organization implementing the RISE program in Serbia, presented certificates of program attendance to all participants who presented their ideas at Demo Day. 

The Regional Incubator for Social Entrepreneurs has conducted a free support program for the development of social entrepreneurship ideas for the fourth consecutive time. The program simultaneously took place in Western Balkans 6 societies with the aim of enabling motivated and dedicated young people to develop their ideas and make the region a better place. During the four-month “ideation phase,” six to eight teams built their idea from scratch to a business model. Throughout this journey, they had the support of experts and mentors, with whom they went through all the important steps in launching a social enterprise. The two best teams from Serbia, and a total of 12 teams from the region, received additional financial and practical support to implement their idea and enhance the development of their business during the “incubation phase.” 

The RISE project is supported by the Agence Française de Développement, the European Union; Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO)the Franco-German Youth Office (OFAJ)PULSE (Groupe SOS)South East European Youth Network (SEEYN)ARNOBalkan Green FoundationNešto VišeSmart KolektivIEC Tehnopolis and Yunus Social Business Balkans. The “ideation phase” of RISE program  in Serbia was implemented with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade.