Call for Applications: Regional Incubator for Social Entrepreneurs in the Western Balkans 2023


Judith Macharia ()

 Regional Incubator for Social Entrepreneurs in the Western Balkans 2023

RISE (Regional Incubator for Social Entrepreneurs) with its ten partners, supports any venture by young people in the Western Balkans that aims to have a positive social or environmental impact on their ecosystems. After the success of its first cycle, RISE has launched its second phase with a focus on enabling young people in the region to get to know each other better, exchange ideas and create new synergies to promote reconciliation in the region. The project will contribute to the development of the social entrepreneurship ecosystem and improve access to social entrepreneurship for young people in the Western Balkans region

The general objective of RISE is to foster reconciliation in the Western Balkans through the promotion and strengthening of social entrepreneurship in the region.

RISE opens new spaces of reconciliation for the youth of the Western Balkans, through a regional program to support social entrepreneurship (The RISE Journey). Young social entrepreneurs from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia will be supported throughout an Ideation and Incubation Chapter from which innovative solutions nourishing a dynamic ecosystem will emerge.

Program Details

RISE focuses on helping young changemakers turn their powerful ideas into sustainable social enterprises. Our tailor-made support programme, RISE Journey, is implemented by six local incubators in the Western Balkans region.  At each stage, you will be accompanied by a local incubator that will provide training and technical skills to the entrepreneurs. The RISE Journey consists of 2 phases: the Ideation Chapter and the Incubation Chapter.

The Ideation Chapter (from October 2023 to February 2024):  You will have access to a series of trainings, and mentoring sessions about social entrepreneurship and interculturality. At the end of the ideation chapter, you will present your social business model addressing the identified problem, with impact and sustainability. Two of the best social business ideas will be selected and will receive financial support of €2,500, an expedition in Western Balkans and a regional incubation programme.

The Incubation Chapter (from March 2024 to June 2024): The support programme continues with a regional dimension!

You will complete the training with the aim of creating a working prototype of your idea, while travelling around the region at a regional Bootcamp to meet Risers and at the RISE expedition, which will introduce you to the region’s social enterprises.

Key criteria

The key criteria that applicants will need to demonstrate are:

  • Strong motivation to participate in the program, the mindset of a true change-maker and commitment to fully participate in 3 months of ideation program
  • How the idea tackles a critical social/environmental issue
  • The potential for the idea to become a sustainable business
  • More than half of the team members speak English.
  • Advantage will be given to teams that haven’t previously been supported/funded by another existing support program that delivers similar training and knowledge to entrepreneurs.

Advantageous criteria

Additional points are going to be awarded if the idea:

  • The innovation is implemented in a local context
  • Has the potential to scale or replicate in the region.
  • Has the potential to create additional jobs.
  • Respects gender-equality principles
Who Can Apply ?

Young people from 16 to 35 years old from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, speaking English well enough to actively participate in an international program, in a group of a minimum of 2 persons that have:

  • Availability and readiness to participate in a program with 4 hours of active participation per week and meetups during 3 months ideation phase, whether these are in online or offline format.
  • High motivation to learn about social entrepreneurship and to be involved in a regional intercultural program
  • The ambition to develop a concrete idea with social impact
  • The willingness to learn from other actors in the region
  • At least, have identified a social/environmental issue they want to tackle
  • At most, worked on their idea on a small scale / at a personal level, without having engaged in a real business activity yet.
  • The idea impact is regional or local




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