Annual Conference – Foundation Mozaik: The future of Bosnia and Herzegovina lies in a dynamic and entrepreneurial young generation

On Thursday, February 11, 2021, the five-day Conference started, where we gathered in a virtual environment with 730 participants! 🌐

The Conference was attended by: ambassador, mayors, representatives of partner cities/municipalities, partners of the Foundation Mozaik, members of 50 Youth Banks, entrepreneurs, young activists and all interested parties who want to contribute to the economic and social development of communities.

Watch the full video of the opening of the Conference (February 11) at the link below, and in this article, we will remind you of some of the most important moments:

The opening of the Conference began with a conversation with H.E. Daniel Hunn, Ambassador of Switzerland to BiH and Zoran Puljić, Director of the Foundation Mozaik.

 “Our cooperation with the Foundation Mozaik has been ongoing for two years and we are very happy with this partnership – because we have such a strong partner with a long-term strategy and common values. Both you and I are convinced that the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina lies in a dynamic and entrepreneurial young generation. We are committed together to ensure that the young generation of this country is given a perspective to develop their visions and ideas,” said Daniel Hunn, Ambassador of Switzerland.

At the beginning of his speech, Zoran Puljić commented on the preparations for the ten-year Strategy of the Foundation Mozaik in 2013 and why it is important for our society to become more developed and more equal:

“We wondered how difficult it is for a young person in Bosnia and Herzegovina to succeed here. How hard is it actually to get an education, to fall in love, to form a family, to raise children…? Indeed, it is a huge issue that young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina think about every day. I think there are too few such examples where young people have succeeded and even when they see them through the media or through Lonac they just don’t believe the stories are true. They think it’s some lottery that hit some young person and that lottery has no chance of hitting them. The real problem is that young people don’t believe in anything anymore and we can’t blame them for that, the real situation is like that. Therefore, we have two challenges – the first is to show young people that it is possible to succeed here, and the second is that when someone succeeds, we tell those stories, to show that their friend, neighbor, succeeded without bribery.”

H.E. Daniel Hunn, at the opening of the Conference with Zoran Puljić and moderator Emela Burdžović-Slipičević

Vesna Bajšanski-Agić, our executive director, presented Mozaik’s results in 2020 in an interesting way, i.e., the results achieved by young people throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina thanks to the support of the Foundation Mozaik and other actors.

“We really believe in the collective impact and that young people can do miracles in this country, if we all push them – as we say in lonac. We have set ourselves even more ambitious goals for 2021. We can’t achieve any if all of you aren’t with us, so please stay with us and try to join forces even more actively through lonac, Omladinska banka/Youth Bank and Startup studio, so that young people can really get what they need, be able to achieve and implement their craziest ideas and decide to stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina, because this is the country they want to live in. Thank you for staying with us because we truly believe that the best is yet to come.”

The Foundation Mozaik works with 49 partner municipalities/cities. The Mayor of Bosanska Krupa, Armin Halitović, and the Mayor of Jezero, Snežana Ružičić, also addressed the participants at the opening. Find out what makes Youth Bank Bosanska Krupa and Youth Bank Jezero special in the video.

“We joined the Youth Bank in a shy way. We have always supported everything and one project that has passed the evaluation, i.e., which was confirmed and we always did a rebalance if needed. I think it is an encouragement for young people, because we did not demoralize them, but we always found the means to realize their ideas. For all this time we had 32,362 users. Considering that Bosanska Krupa has some 25,000 inhabitants according to the census, then we know the involvement of the first beneficiary, involvement of young people who wrote projects and participated in the implementation of these projects, and most importantly – that all these young people have certainly learned something and that experience will surely be useful to them.” Armin Halitović, Mayor of Bosanska Krupa.

“Something happened that many thought was impossible to happen – in 2018, young people joined forces through lonac, the Foundation Mozaik and the Youth Bank and implemented a very large number of projects and thus showed how strong the youth activism is in this municipality. It’s something I’m especially proud of because I really think that without young people and their activism, this society can’t move forward.” Snežana Ružičić, Mayor, Mayor of Jezero.

Sejdefa Bašić, our director for collective impact, presented new partnerships in lonac.

“In 2020, despite the difficult year in which the planet Earth stopped, doors to new partnerships opened and provided additional support to the ecosystem of entrepreneurship for young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Last year, the support ecosystem became richer by 33 partners. Now, there are 160 partners in lonac.”

Sejdefa invited others to join in supporting entrepreneurs in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to become part of the lonac.pro community.

All previous statements have in some way mentioned young people and their importance in building a better society. We are especially proud that we were able to gather young people who are involved in our activities and who contribute their work to our great results that Vesna talked about. Without their contribution, each of our activities would be difficult or impossible to carry out.

Natalija Vidaković has been a member of the Board of the Youth Bank Rudo for only a year, and she has already reached the fourth place in the TOP 10 volunteers. At the opening of the Conference, she spoke about why she joined the Youth Bank:

“Youth Bank is a great program that is provided to young people and I think that every person who wants to make a change should join the Youth Bank. We don’t just give money for projects. We also give support, friendship and advice. You mature through the Youth Bank. Through Youth Bank, I became what I am today. When someone makes a project and when they finally realize it, your heart is full because you have contributed to your community.”

Natalija Vidaković and Armin Softić

Armin Softić, a member of the Board of the Youth Bank Kladanj, is the first on the list of the TOP 10 volunteers in 2020. He is said to be an “YB dinosaur” because he has been in the family of the Youth Bank for over 5 years, 7 years to be precise:

“When I walk down the street and see all the projects I have implemented during those 7 years, our hearts are full. What is created in all of us is a kind of cult of Youth Banks. In our opinion, it is no longer volunteering, it is neither Mozaik nor Youth Bank – it is our family. And that is why we are here to improve ourselves, our community and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Many ask me why I have been here for so long, as a volunteer, and I can only say that today I would not be what I am, if I were not a member of the Board of the Youth Bank!”

Armin, with the help of the Youth Bank, and his wife registered O.R. Rosa – dodir prirode, a social microbusiness that deals with the production of natural cosmetics. He presented the importance of the support of the Youth Bank in these first entrepreneurial steps. We found out about the support for entrepreneurs by the Startup studio through a video of the social business Greens.

After that, the visitors of the Conference had the opportunity to “walk” between the stands at the Youth Banks Fair and the Business Fair. They were able to get acquainted with the work of 49 Youth Banks and talk to their representatives, as well as get acquainted with 110 micro businesses and business portfolios of Startup Studios, schedule a meeting and find potential business partners.

  • The end of the first day of the Conference was reserved for socializing in a virtual lonac caffe and “drinking coffee” with Ivan Milinković, the founder of the microbusiness Protector bags, and immediately afterwards with Lidija Sejdinović, the founder of the Teta pričalica business. In an informal and relaxed atmosphere, the participants had the opportunity to hear about their entrepreneurial stories, starting and running a business, challenges and problems they encountered, but also the successes they achieved.

We would like to extend our gratitude to everyone who contributed with their presence and activity to make this online event almost completely replace our famous offline conference, but we still hope to see you in our well-known circumstances next year because a handshake and a hug cannot surpass anything 🙂

We continue with the Conference until Monday, when we invite you to join us at the closing of the Conference when we will present five new opportunities for young people. If you have already registered, join us here: https://mozaik2021.lonac.pro/login and if you want to join us, register here:

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