Young enthusiasts from Bosanska Krupa launched a start-up business in order to contribute to the development of the local community

Amusement park “Zeleni otoci/Green islands” is a start-up business founded by a group of young enthusiasts and nature lovers from Bosanska Krupa, which has been operating at full capacity for over six years. The aim of their work is to promote the natural beauty of Bosanska Krupa, through services such as rafting, cycling, hiking, camping and similar activities. In the center of the city, in a unique natural location, Male Ade, there is a summer garden that works during the spring and summer period. In the past six years, more than thirty young people participated in the work of Zeleni otoci, who worked on creating a small tourist brand, and thus contributed to the development of their local community.

The importance of the idea was also recognized by the Bosanska Krupa Municipality. The Municipality supported this idea through their youth start-up business financing program, and through cooperation in the realization of regular activities or new ideas that were suggested by the team of young people working in Zeleni otoci.

This team is led by two longtime friends, Dino Beslagic and Dino Zjakic. Together with their friends and fellow citizens, they implemented numerous activities in the fields of sports, ecology, culture and humanitarian activities, from which the idea of creating a social enterprise emerged.

Dino Zjakic

The initial idea for the creation of “Zeleni otoci” arose in 2015, and its first form was obtained through the social enterprise incubator of the Mozaik Foundation.

They ranked Zeleni otoci among the top five business ideas at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The following year, Zeleni otoci team implemented numerous projects that contributed to the educational, infrastructural and marketing strengthening of the start-up while preparing for the first working day, which was May 12, 2017.

Since then, the team has been constantly working on developing their business offer, expanding the network of employees, and promoting Bosanska Krupa and the region, which resulted in a fantastic response from guests, a visit that exceeded expectations and a positive story that grows every day.

They are actively preparing for the next season. They will include rental of electric bicycles that they borrowed from the Bosanska Krupa City within the “Green Islands Tour” project. This project is implemented by the Bosanska Krupa City and GIZ (German Society for International Cooperation), and includes continued support for tourism operators through the EU4 Business Recovery project, which is co-financed by the European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany.

“We received an invitation from the City Administration of Bosanska Krupa to participate in a meeting where they presented us with a project that was in the initial phase of implementation. The project tackles the development of tourist facilities and offers in Bosanska Krupa. Together with other tourist operators, we were invited to part of the implementation of the project in order to expand our offer with some new services, each within the scope of their business. Thus, Zeleni otoci have improved their cycling offer with four electric bicycles, in order to make it easier for visitors to ride the numerous hills and Mountain Grmec,” notes Zjakic.

Zjakic believes that the previously mentioned project has brought many positive changes to the city. He explains that cooperation and communication with the City Administration of Bosanska Krupa has always been good.

“In Bosanska Krupa, tourism is now mentioned with special care. In recent years, the focus has been on the maintenance and development of the tourism sector. Our goal is to engage as many young people as possible through project activities. In this way, through engagement, they bond with their local environment. The number of those returning from the diaspora to Bosanska Krupa is also significant,” said Zjakic.

Beach bar, located in the center of Bosanska Krupa, on one of the eight river banks, is a place to enjoy with friends and family. During the summer months, Zeleni otoci turns into the most popular swimming spot in the city. Then the atmosphere on Ada is really special. Facilities such as a children’s playground, an outdoor gym and a volleyball court are free for visitors to use. In addition to evening summer concerts and karaoke, it is possible to book one of the adventure routes in the beach bar to explore the landscape of Bosanska Krupa.

When it comes to plans for the near future, according to Zjakic, they will continue their work on already started activities.

“Soon we will install trash cans with integrated ashtrays on Zeleni otoci. This is another project that we are implementing with the City of Bosanska Krupa, the Municipal Company, which is financed by the Ministry of Economy of the Una-Sana Canton. Preparations for the summer tourist season are underway. We hope for good weather and I invite all nature lovers to visit Bosanska Krupa this summer,” Zjakic concludes.

Author: Hazim Okanovic

This article was written thanks to the generous support of the American people through the “Local Works” program of the United States Agency for International Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina (USAID). The contents of the publication are under the exclusive liability of its author and “Network for Building Peace”. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the USAID or the US Government.