Meeting the challenges that hinder entrepreneurial development in the Western Balkans small firm sector
This report was commissioned by the British Council and the Swedish Institute to establish the need for a youth entrepreneurship programme in the Western Balkans, and design a roadmap to establish one if necessary. It follows and expands a European Union (EU) process designed to encourage youth involvement through an annual youth participation conference. In 2017, this initiative highlighted the need to support youth entrepreneurship through training, improved institutional support and access to finance (DG Enlargement, 2017). The objective of this report is to identify training and development needs and propose an appropriate delivery framework to help young entrepreneurs build quality businesses. It takes account of the local entrepreneurial and small firm landscape. It emphasises capability and linkage building, recognising that the region has received modest amounts of foreign direct investment in the past ten years, mostly used to enhance productivity and build business capital. These modest levels of investment have reduced the important supply chain pull factor that large foreign direct anchor investments can often give to entrepreneurs (Gereffi, 2014) and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). This report brings together the testimony of 605 aspiring entrepreneurs, four in-depth case studies, experience from previous start-up and growth stage companies and knowledge from a wide variety of academic and public resources.