Merima Kukić, a 27-year-old from Jablanica, has always been interested in food production. For that reason, after obtaining a degree in agricultural engineering, she decided to do an internship at the Women’s Association MOST, which is engaged in agriculture. Her interest in domestic and organic production continued to grow.
“I have always found it fascinating how one seed develops into a fruit that ends up on our table. I often think about what is put into the food we consume, so I guess that has further piqued my interest in organic products.”, honestly stated Merima.
During the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic’s outbreak, Merima faced reality – the internship was coming to an end, and it was challenging for a young person in the BiH market to find a job at that time. Then she read the EU4Business’s public call for the training course “Start and Improve Your Business” and recognized the opportunity to turn her long-standing passion into work.
The milestone for Merima was the EU4Business project
The fertile ground for the development of Merima’s idea and a kind of turning point for this young woman was the entrepreneurial training “Start and Improve Your Business”, based on the International Labour Organisation methodology. After the training, Merima did not wait long. She knew what to do, so together with six women from the Women’s Association “MOST” Jablanica, who are engaged in organic agriculture, Merima decided to start her own business.
She used the knowledge gained at the EU4Business training, wrote a business plan, and became one of the grant beneficiaries that enabled her to start a company called MOST M d.o.o Jablanica.
The company’s main activity is processing fruits and vegetables, and additional activities are catering services, sewing and souvenir making and cleaning services. According to original recipes, these hardworking women prepare traditional Bosnian dishes with a diverse offer of beautifully decorated and arranged tables.
Organic, homemade and according to traditional recipes
Merima’s company currently produces natural and vegetable juices, fruit syrups, jams, marmalades, sweets, ajvar, pindjur and a whole range of traditional products. An added value in this entire preparation process is that all processed fruits and vegetables come from domestic plantations of proven organic suppliers from the area of Jablanica and Herzegovina.
“We stand out because we work according to original traditional recipes. Our most attractive product is an autochthonous product of BiH – apple jam without any additional sugar. It is produced only by boiling pure apple juice, as our ancestors did,” Merima proudly emphasizes.
Plan for the future: From local to global!
By starting a business, Merima got a job, the opportunity for progress, improvement of work habits and entrepreneurial business. Still, above all, Merima has the chance to help other unemployed women.
Convinced of the quality of their products, Merima and her colleagues have reason to be optimistic and point out:
“We plan to go from local to global. We will first place our products in our municipality of Jablanica, where we are already becoming recognized. Of course, we are thinking about expanding to the entire territory of BiH. “
They hope that business development in the future will create conditions for expanding the production and employment of women from rural areas.
Merima Kukić’s business idea is financially and professionally supported through the project “Inter-municipal cooperation to the better and more inclusive practice of support for start-ups”, which is implemented within the EU4Busines project – for a competitive and innovative domestic economy. EU4Business is worth € 16.1 million and is jointly funded by the European Union (€ 15 million) and the Federal Republic of Germany (€ 1.1 million). The project is being jointly implemented by GIZ, ILO and UNDP, from April 2018 to March 2022.
The project is implemented by the Local Partnership Jablanica, Kakanj and Konjic, consisting of the Municipality of Jablanica, Kakanj, Konjic, Association LiNK Mostar, Employment Service of Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, Employment Service of Zenica-Doboj Canton – Labor Office Kakanj, Džemal Bijedić University, Radin d.o.o. Mostar and Jablanit d.o.o. Jablanica.