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Markus Aschendorf | Chairman, EFSE Development Facility
On November 20, 2018, over 200 representatives from finance and industry gathered at Sarajevo City Hall for the EFSE Entrepreneurship Tournament.
The EFSE Entrepreneurship Tournament showcased and supported 22 promising entrepreneurs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The competition took aim at two common hurdles for businesses in the region: access to finance and know-how. The goal was not only to increase awareness of local entrepreneurship and recognize the growth potential of this key economic sector, but also to provide concrete opportunities for emerging businesses to receive crucial support in the form of financial awards and targeted mentoring.
At the close of the competition, 9 winners received business acceleration awards in amounts of EUR 6,000 and EUR 10,000, while 5 businesses were awarded for special categories: Innovation, Social Impact, and Woman Entrepreneurs. In addition, 12 businesses won 500 hours of mentorship to accelerate their fledgling businesses. The cash investments will be used exclusively for the purchase of necessary equipment, tools, and other assets for business acceleration. Mentorship services will include up to 50 hours of counselling, research, and analysis over a period of six months.
For the three months leading up to the competition, the EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy and its partners – the Sarajevo Regional Development Agency (SERDA) and the Mozaik Foundation (Mozaik) – helped the contestants to rigorously prepare to pitch their business models to a jury of experts. These businesses had already graduated from prior acceleration programs and were now ready to convince a panel of corporate and financial sector representatives of the value of an investment in their businesses.
The judges analysed the candidates and selected the winners based on the potential of a financial award to increase production, income, number of employees, or geographic outreach.
The winners of the business acceleration award were:
The tournament was hosted by the EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy, an arm of the EFSE Development Facility. The Entrepreneurship Academy supplements EFSE’s mission to promote prosperity and economic growth by providing targeted support to entrepreneurs in the form of training, networking, mentorship, financial technology, and connection to financing opportunities.
EFSE Development Facility Chairman Markus Aschendorf said: “This was a tremendous event. The EFSE Development Facility has over a dozen years of experience in helping entrepreneurs overcome the obstacles to their growth, and one of the biggest of these remains access to finance. Pitching competitions like the EFSE Entrepreneurship Tournament provide entrepreneurs not only with visibility, they also create direct impact by connecting these promising new businesses to the resources to help them succeed. I am especially appreciative of the work done by our partners, SERDA and Mozaik, in working together with us toward economic growth and prosperity in Southeast Europe.”
“EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy and its exceptionally strong mentoring component have taken an important part in building an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region in a very short time. We at the Mozaik Foundation, as the leading impact investor in the region, welcome this initiative because it gives a strong support to all entrepreneurs in BiH,” said Zoran Puljic, CEO of Mozaik Foundation.