Economic Development is defined as an increase in economic activity, implying progressive changes in the socio-economic structure and leading to higher standards of living. The objective of Economic Development is elimination of poverty, inequalities and unemployment – which will lead to social inclusion and an improvement of the quality of life.
What should economic development bring?
- Generate jobs
- Help retain existing jobs
- Stimulate industrial and commercial growth
How to achieve this?
- Improving business opportunities
- Enhancing economic competitiveness by promoting innovation and competitiveness
- Creating sustainable, 21st century jobs
Unlocking entrepreneurial capabilities – Stimulating the enhancement of quality and relevance
Much has been written about the impact of entrepreneurship on economic development. If the Millennium Development Goals of reducing poverty are to be attained, it is necessary to develop human capital in all sectors, to address both the opportunities and major challenges BiH is facing. Entrepreneurship education equips people to proactively pursue those opportunities available to them – enabling them to lead and shape institutions, businesses and local communities.
Innovation and entrepreneurship provide a way forward for solving existing challenges, building sustainable development, creating jobs, generating renewed economic growth and advancing human welfare.
What is ACED’s experience?
Trainings and Consultancy for SME (in cooperation with Innovation Centre)
Goal: to provide SME entrepreneurs and their management with tailored trainings and “on site” consultancy, enabling them to reach their full potential.
A pool of trainers and consultants from different fields, specialized in SME development, provide the crucial assistance to SME entrepreneurs and their management, enabling them to gain a new knowledge and address concrete issues related to demanding business environment. ACED’s specialized training methodology and “on site” consultancy services are provided both – to groups and individuals.
Academy of Entrepreneurship
Goal: to provide students with additional training curricula adapted to a local business environment, enabling them to acquire knowledge and techniques necessary for the successful start-up of their small business.
AoE aims to develop institutional mechanisms which create entrepreneurial culture in academic institutions and foster and promote student entrepreneurship and employment in the region. ACED mobilized a group of local trainers specialised in the field of small and medium enterprise development to design an innovative business training curricula to be presented to students interested to pursue their small business ideas. Training is designed as a small business academy, providing education in cycles, each cycle containing 5-7 different topics. The business academy curricula was designed especially with respect to the local business environment, providing also current and actual information.
Business Plan Competition
Goal: to raise awareness on the importance of creative business thinking and the early entrepreneurship challenges that face every new idea in the specific BiH business environment.
At the end of each AoE training cycle, ACED organizes a competition to encourage students towards creative market thinking to transform their business ideas into comprehensive business plans that could receive support. A pool of university professors and trainers evaluate business plans and honor the best contestants. Besides competition awards, ACED creates links with government and financial institutions to enable students to seek support and close the financial construction for their business.
Student Business Start-up Incubation
Goal: to support innovative student business ideas with advice, guidance, counselling and information in order to increase chances for their entrepreneurial success.
ACED established a Student Business Incubator – SBI on Banjaluka University that serves as physical infrastructure that supports business incubation activities. SBI offers students a financial assistance, office space and technical environment for starting up their small business for the first year. ACED has also established a library and computer databases providing students with useful information on local business laws and regulations, market surveys and other business information sources.
“Early Stage” Consultancy for Student Businesses
Goal: to provide young entrepreneurs with “on site” consultancy necessary for successful start-up of their small business, enabling them to reach their full potential.
A pool of consultants from different backgrounds, specialized in SME development, provide the crucial assistance to new entrepreneurs enabling them to resolve concrete issues and avoid potential obstacles. Consultancy services such as drafting policies and contracts, developing concise marketing plans, sourcing and procurement advisory, website maintenance, financial advisory, trade mark/intellectual property/patent registration advisory etc. are provided to each entrepreneur on case to case basis. In addition ACED is organizing guest lectures and workshops with entrepreneurs from different fields of business enabling students to learn first hand about specifics of local business environment and to interact on topics of their interest.
Agriculture Business Development
Goal: to improve and expand business operations of selected agricultural cooperatives by providing technical assistance in business planning and by linking them to available financial sources.
Many cooperatives in RS have sound business activities and a positive financial portfolio. However, due to the lack of knowledge and skills to develop viable business plans in order to request grants and credits they are not able to expand their production. In cooperation with RS Union of Agriculture Cooperatives, ACED provides business development training services to selected agricultural cooperatives or individual producers which are members of the Union.
Intrapreneurs – agents of change within existing structures
Entrepreneurship education is a societal change agent, a great enabler in all sectors. Not everyone needs to become an entrepreneur to benefit from entrepreneurship education, but all members of society need to be more entrepreneurial – to improve efficiency and competitiveness. Entrepreneurial ways of thinking and behaving are essential.
Do employers want entrepreneurs?
Many employers want their employees to demonstrate entrepreneurial skills. Employees who are well motivated, thinking ahead, seeing new opportunities can all help to provide a business with a competitive edge and thus remain profitable in the market place.
Many of the so-called “entrepreneurial skills” would benefit companies and employers, such as; the ability to work within a team, the ability to communicate effectively, management skills and research and analytical skills – in order to implement changes or develop new products, within the structure in which they work.
Vocational Skills & Career Guidance
Goal: to prepare students for their post-graduate careers and employment, to guide them in their career planning, improvement of communication and presentation skills, and their personality development.
ACED’s Career Guidance Center acts as a dual-function department offering vocational guidance and career preparation skills to students. Through its work, the SCGC will assist students in planning and executing a plan of study that appropriately reflects the students’ interests and motivation. The SCGC provides guidance regarding graduation requirements, transfer options, baccalaureate degrees, career planning, and personal decision making. Together with professional trainers, ACED provides expert help in career counseling – offering students a vocation and profession preparation, supporting them to find a job and assisting them to improve their position in the job.
What are regarded as entrepreneurial skills?
A wide range of skills are seen as entrepreneurial and useful to entrepreneurs, these include both personal traits and skills:
- Management skills – the ability to manage time and people successfully
- Communication skills and the ability to sell ideas and persuade others
- Able to draw up a business plan for a new venture
- Able to market and sell a new product or idea
- The ability to work both as part of a team and independently
- Able to plan, coordinate and organise effectively
- Financial literacy and skills, such as book-keeping and calculating tax
- Able to research effectively, for example available markets, suppliers, customers and the competition
- Self motivated and disciplined
- Innovative thinking and creative
- The ability to multi-task
- Able to take responsibility and make decisions
- The ability to work under pressure
- Willingness to take risks
- Ability to network and make contacts