Social entrepreneurship is gaining more visibility in Macedonia, and civil society is engaging in lobbying for the government to create clearer frameworks for social entrepreneurship to be more accessible and for young people to be more aware about such opportunities.

The conference ”Education for social entrepreneurship: Social inclusion through entrepreneurship”, held in Skopje on the 26th of February, was the final event of the project ”Social inclusion through entrepreneurship”, implemented between 2017-2018 in partnership with Out of the Box International from Belgium and Wisamar from Germany.

The project aimed to develop the capacity of educators and leaders who are active and experienced in adult learning programmes, to design and deliver educational programmes, to facilitate inclusion and to initiate employability. For this purpose, social entrepreneurship was promoted through adult learning programmes.

The conference gathered around 50 participants, among which representatives from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Agency for Employment, and civil society organisations from Macedonia. It consisted of a short presentation of the project, a panel with speakers who tackled subjects such as the youth guarantee and the challenges of starting a social entreprise in Macedonia, and 2 parallel workshops which produced recommendations for decision-makers regarding the situation of social entrepreneurship in Macedonia and recommendations for practical usage of the manual in the everyday work of an organization.

Dr. Violeta Stojanovikj from the Agency for Employment of the Republic of Macedonia mentioned that:

The Agency for Employment is part of a working group to define the legal framework for social entrepreneurship, on the basis of the shared experience from EU countries and from the region. There is an undergoing effort to include social entrepreneurship in all the active measures for employment. In the new operational plan which will be made public soon, a financial and advisory support for social entrepreneuship is envisioned in the shape of subsidies for salaries, equipment and materials.

Mladen Frckovski from the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy focused his speech on the youth guarantee, a new program which was proposed for adoption by the parliament:

Macedonia will be the first country in the Balkan region to implement a youth guarantee scheme. The pilot project will start on the 1st of April and will be implemented in 3 municipalities – Skopje, Strumica and Gostivar.

Dragana Karovska, a representative from the civil society organisation H.E.R.A. , currently running a social entreprise called Nega Plus, spoke about the challenges of including young people from marginalized categories in the workforce:

The idea for this social enterprise with a focus on offering medical care came out as an idea from the fact that our target group was young Roma girls who were unemployed. We are currently offering them the opportunity to participate in programmes for qualification and to build their capacity in order to increase their competitiveness on the labour market and to encourage self-employment.

The recommendations from the working groups will be available soon, in the meantime you can download for free the guidebook on social entrepreneurship in Macedonian and English below:

Download publication in English

Download publication in Macedonian

The project was implemented with the support of the Macedonian National Agency for European Educational Programmes and Mobility through the Erasmus+ Programme. More information about the project can be found here.