Since 2006 (starting date of the commitment), Balkan BCYF with the help of its partners (Studio Moderna Group, SHL Foundation, Nokia, Open Society Foundation Macedonia) has accomplished the following:
- Funded 40 small sustainable youth businesses in the region that continue to work and flourish today, giving work to around 100 young people
- Connected more than 1,500 unemployed young people with the labor market in their respective countries by providing them with paid internships/job shadowing
- Increased the employment opportunities of around 5,000 unemployed young people through specialized life skills trainings.
Around 50 percent of the young people who participated in the paid internship component, got a job offer after the end of their internships.
Local NGOs in remote areas were revived and turned into local employability labs.
- Launch of the Youth Entrepreneurship Program in Bulgaria with a $150,000 contribution from The Nike Foundation.
- Launch of the employability-training program in Macedonia with a $20,000 grant from the Macedonian Ministry of Youth and Sports and the World Bank.
- Youth Entrepreneurship programs in Albania and Bulgaria have already created some 60 jobs for young people (ages 18 to 29) in less than a year and are expanding rapidly.
- Held study session on Youth Employability for strategies to secure network capacities with the common goal of promoting youth employment in and with South-East Europe.
- Monitored grants awarded to 5 organizations which will help to decrease the unemployment rate in Macedonia.
- Realized 50 internships in private and public companies in the Republic of Macedonia, including the secretariat for European Affairs in the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, the City of Skopje and Cosmofon, the second biggest mobile network operator in Macedonia.
- Organized the Second Business Leader Forum.
- Plans to launch Youth Employability program in Kosovo in the first week of October 2007 with support from Studio Moderna, a private company from Slovenia, UNDP and IYF.
- Plans to work on campaigns for recognition of non-formal education from the business community.
On February 19, 2006 an award ceremony took place to distribute the first series of loans to young entrepreneurs in Bulgaria, in the presence of local corporate donors. In March 2006, a meeting was held with President Martti Ahtisaari, Chairman of the Board of the Balkan Children and Youth Foundation, to set up a new fundraising strategy and approach, taking into account the fact that most donors are considering too soon to leave the region. Priority fundraising is focused on Finland, Norway, USAID and the European Union. To date, only $370,000 has been raised to support this project.
A Youth Business Entrepreneurship program has been successfully launched in both Albania and Bulgaria. In Albania, 20 individuals have benefited from loans to implement their business plan and a business mentor to help them develop their business more efficiently. Some 30 additional young people have been employed by these young entrepreneurs. Repayments are up to date and some have already fully repaid their loan and are now supported by the program to seek larger loans from other sources to grow their business. In Bulgaria, the program has been widely advertised and the selection panel will meet with the candidates in January 2006. It is anticipated that 10 to 15 young people will benefit from both a loan and a business mentor.