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The Neretva Bank’s Skilful Entrepreneurs

The Neretva Bank’s Skilful Entrepreneurs

Growing up in an environment with a long woodworking tradition implies that at least sometimes in your life, you will have touch with this kind of work—the story of twenty-seven-year-old Almedin Žika from Čelebić near Konjic confirms our allegation.

After graduating from the Mathematical-Informatics High School, Almedin enrolled in the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Sarajevo. Still, already during his first year of study, he decided what he wanted to do in the future. The love for the craft and desire to return to the roots and tradition of woodworking have prevailed. Along with his father, a long-term educator to whom, all his life, woodworking was a hobby, Almedin developed additional skills and grew into an excellent and skilled craftsman. He has always had a desire to be an entrepreneur and start his own business.

The turning point was when he applied to the public call for “Start your own business” training within the EU4Business project funded by the European Union. Almedin successfully completed the training that opened the door to private entrepreneurship.

“The training was beneficial for me. I learned how to run a business, from planning throughout the year to managing fixed and variable costs, which I knew nothing about before“, said Almedin Žiko.

The road to success took shorter than expected. Nevertheless, Almedin’s company – craft shop “Carpentry Ziko” operates exceptionally successfully, and after registration, Almedin has become competitive in the market. In addition to individual orders, he has the opportunity to apply for larger tenders. The satisfaction of his clients is evidenced by the fact that he has so many orders that he can barely respond to additional orders coming from both BiH and abroad.
The orders for room doors and panel furniture are requested even three months in advance, so to successfully respond to the market needs, Almedin hopes to hire three employees by the end of 2021.

“Clients are from Konjic, but also entire Bosnia and Herzegovina. There is an interest from abroad as well. Currently, we have planned orders for Austria. Apart from me, I have a few associates that I hire per need, but by the end of the year, I intend to hire three employees.“

For the future, Almedin plans to continue working and expanding production capacity and his offers. Currently, in the 120-square-meter workshop, he produces room doors and panel furniture. In addition, he plans to acquire a CNC furniture processing machine, which would provide additional opportunities to expand the offer. Almedin does not hide that he owes special gratitude to the EU4Business project and “Start your own business” training, which gave him the necessary knowledge, skills, and motivation to start his craft shop and enter a new successful life chapter.

Almedin’s story of persistence and the desire to change is not the only one in this part of BiH. If you go further down river Neretva, you will see many examples confirming that success requires a good idea, hard work, and the right opportunity.
When you stop in Glodnica near Jablanica, many will direct you to Mirsada Gostevčić, a new 52-year-old entrepreneur. Mirsada’s husband is a casualty of the war, and since their income was low, she did all kinds of jobs in her life. From medicinal herbs to knitting, baking pies, to agriculture.

“There is no job I have not done. But, everything has worked so far. People recognize those who work hard and work well. Everything happens on its own time”, says this hard-working woman who, after completing the “Start your own business” training, started a successful business of poultry breeding, production of eggs, and organic fertilizers.

For a full twelve years, among many other jobs, Mirsada kept her chickens and managed to sell eggs at the market and from her home. Then, she had an idea for organic poultry farming.
The turning point in her life was a public call for the EU4Business project, to which she applied, went to the training, and soon realized that she wanted and could start her own business. It was the opportunity she had been waiting for.

After completing the training, she started her business, “MM Eko” in Glodnica, Jablanica. Poultry is her main activity. In addition, she has her chickens for fattening and laying hens, and she cultivates pure organic fertilizer in the greenhouse.
Sales go pretty well. Mirsada distributes her products to shops and restaurants in the area of Jablanica. But, as she says, the demand is so high that there are not enough products for her old customers in addition to new orders.

“I think I am ready to expand my production, and I plan to do that. People recognize and want organic and natural, and I have the opportunity to offer it to them”, Mirsada proudly points out and adds that she will involve her son in the business to expand the company and its capacities. As she says, the demand for organic products will continue to grow in the future.
The stories of Almedin and Mirsada are just further proof that great ideas, with support and professional guidance, succeed. Thanks to the EU4Business project and the “Start Your Own Business” training, Mirsad and Almedin have become successful entrepreneurs. As they say, they owe special gratitude to the European Union, the International Labor Organization, and the local partnership of Jablanica, Kakanj, and Konjic for the opportunity to start their businesses.
Business ideas are financially and professionally supported through the project “By inter-municipal cooperation to better and more inclusive support to startups.” The project is implemented by the Local Partnership Jablanica, Kakanj, and Konjic, consisting of the municipalities 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.
EU4Business is jointly funded by the European Union (€ 15 million) and the Federal Republic of Germany (€ 1.1 million) with the aim of strengthening BIH’s economy. The EU4Business project stimulates entrepreneurship, export-oriented sectors, tourism, and agriculture and is being jointly implemented by GIZ, ILO, and UNDP from April 2018 to March 2022.

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