Serbia - Idea for a better tomorrow

 
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In November 2017, UniCredit Foundation, in cooperation with Divac Foundation, Smart Kolektiv and UniCredit Bank Serbia, awarded the winners of the third edition of the Idea for a Better Tomorrow call for tender. Serbia is affected by serious social problems, poverty above all (24.5% of the population is at risk), as well as unemployment (19.7%, with youth unemployment at 42.2%) and the current migration issues along the Balkan route, which make it a country whose equilibrium is still fragile, with urgent social needs. The social economy is slowly growing. In 2017 there were around 1,200 organisations operating under models and with objectives that could be classified as social enterprises (even if there is no specific legislation).

 

With an eye to contributing to the creation of an ecosystem suitable for the development of social businesses, since 2012, with the call for tender “Idea for a Better Tomorrow”, again in cooperation with Divac Foundation and, since 2014, with Smart Kolektiv, UniCredit Foundation has supported 23 social enterprise projects.

 

The seven projects which won the 2017 call for tender received total grants of € 40,000 (of which € 5,000 assigned through "Your Choice, Your Project" to the project receiving the most votes from UniCredit Bank Serbia employees).

  • Initiative for social empowerment. The Chrono.rs project produces flour mixes appropriate for those who must follow specific dietary regimes (e.g. diabetics). Three disabled individuals are employed for preparation and packaging, supported by the Muscular Dystrophy Association in the district of Jablanica.
  • Vunena Citizens Association. The Vunena goes international project has the goal of commercialising handmade sweaters and other clothing made in the Serbian tradition abroad. Vunena employs around 20 women in the rural area of Homolja. The grant funds will be used to create the fall/winter 2018-2019 collection to be presented at international fairs.
  • ZaJedno Association for the Support of Persons with Psychophysical Disorders. The Fuel for All project, in line with the goals of the Association, works to support the social inclusion of people with disabilities. The funds provided will be used to improve the laboratory that employs beneficiaries in Subotica to produce briquettes and pellets to be sold for retail and to purchase a vehicle for home deliveries and facilitate worker movement.
  • The Citizens Association for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and All Forms of Gender-Based Violence Atina. The Bagel Bejgl project in Belgrade will provide work to four women from disadvantaged categories who will produce baked goods. Income from this activity will be invested to support the association Atina, which protects victims of human trafficking. Grant funds will be used to increase production and sales capacity.
  • Social Agricultural Cooperative Nova Perspektiva. The cooperative supports an incubator for agricultural businesses in the city of Pirot, near the border with Bulgaria. The objective of the project is to reduce unemployment and poverty in the area. Combining entrepreneurial knowledge with production practices and agricultural transformation, the project will contribute to training six women over a two-year period. The funds will be used to construct new greenhouses and purchase equipment.
  • Association for Support to Persons with Disabilities Naša Kuća. The funds will be used to support the Healthy Garden project in Belgrade. Naša Kuća is an association founded by the parents of children with disabilities, which has set itself the goal of supporting social inclusion and employing beneficiaries through a wide array of economic activities. All profits of the ’Healthy Garden - Hydroponic vegetable production centre and other activities are used to support the day centre and the other services provided by the association.
  • Citizens Association LICEULICE. The objective of the association is to empower members of marginalised groups - the homeless, people with disabilities, Rom and those living in poverty - through sales of the magazine LICEULICE on the street. Over the last seven years, this activity has seen the involvement of 400 beneficiaries. Revenues from sales of the magazine are in part given to sellers and in part contribute to supporting printing costs and other LICEULICE programs, including the creation of a crowdfunding platform for online communication, promotion and fundraising through cause-related marketing activities.

Aleksandra Kecojević, Programme Manager, Ana & Vlade Divac Foundation; Ivana Stancic, The Be A Man Campaign Project Coordinator, Smart Kolektiv.

"We were founded with the mission of ensuring a quality of life even for the most vulnerable sectors of the population. To meet the goal of social integration, we are actively working to promote social businesses in Serbia."