RISE Demo Days: Celebrating Success and Cooperation in the Western Balkans

The Regional Incubator for Social Entrepreneurs (RISE) recently hosted a remarkable event that highlighted the outstanding achievements of young social entrepreneurs in the Western Balkans.

A pivotal moment in the RISE Journey is the Ideation Chapter, which culminates in a prestigious event known as “Demo Day.” Co-funded by the Agence Francaise de Developpement and the European Union, Demo Day provides a platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch their social business concepts to a distinguished jury composed of key figures in the social entrepreneurship sector, representatives of French Embassies from the Western Balkans and representatives of RYCO local branch offices. . This year, twelve exceptional teams emerged victorious, earning a spot in the RISE Incubation Chapter. These winning teams will kick off their journey with a three-day regional Bootcamp in Budva, Montenegro, and will each receive a business development and mobility grant of €3,000.

In addition to the twelve winning teams, a third deserving team was selected to participate in the RISE Expedition, a mobility program designed to connect social entrepreneurs across the region. The event also served as an opportunity for networking, bringing together influential individuals and stakeholders from the social entrepreneurship ecosystem to support and connect with the participants.

“At ARNO we are delighted that RISE has its continuation and that is recognized as a program for young entrepreneurs, not just a project. Young people need support, so ARNO not only has the role of an incubator but also a supporter and connector of all believers in social entrepreneurship. Many quality mentors, trainers, donors, and media who believe in young people are part of this puzzle. We need everyone on board for these ideas to succeed and for the young people to at least try to stay in our country and realize themselves through social entrepreneurship.” – said Marjan Icoski, program manager at ARNO.

The RISE Demo Days are not just about recognizing outstanding projects; they represent an annual gathering that unites key players in the social entrepreneurship landscape of the Western Balkans. Beyond showcasing innovative ideas, the event embodies the energy, dedication, and passion of social entrepreneurs in the region. Through initiatives like RISE, young individuals are supported and nurtured, laying the foundation for a brighter and more sustainable future in the Western Balkans.

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