UniCredit Foundation, UniCredit Bank, Foundation Ana and Vlade Divac and Smart Kolektiv presented the winners of third edition of competition "Idea for better tomorrow" which aims to contribute to development of social entrepreneurship, as well as finding ideas for products and services which can improve image of Serbia in the region and abroad. In period from June 6th till July 18th 2017, over 130 ideas were registered.
November 20th, 2017. The commission selected 15 finalists which suggested best ideas and with who the experts worked on development of business plans. After the creation and evaluation of business plans, expert commission, based on innovation of ideas and sustainability of projects, selected the winning ones. Seven best finalists were chosen for grants in overall amount of EUR 40,000.
The Commission unanimously decided to allocate the grants totally worth EUR 35,000 to the following finalists: Initiative for social empowerment, Citizens' Association for the fight against human trafficking and all forms of violence against women Atina, Citizen association Vunena, Association for Support of People with Developmental Disabilities Naša kuća, Association for Support of Persons with Psychophysical Disorders ZaJedno, Social agricultural cooperation Nova perspektiva and Citizen association Liceulice. In addition, employees of UniCredit Bank were also involved in the voting process and they have selected two winners who are granted with additional EUR 2,500 each, Nasa kuca and Atina.
Mauricio Carrara, president of UniCredit Foundation from Milan, stated: “The success of this initiative, that offers concrete tools to support projects for job integration and empowerment of communities, is primarily the result of the cooperation of experienced partners- UniCredit Bank, Fondation Ana and Vlade Divac and Smart Kolektiv. "Idea for a better tomorrow", with its three editions, has contributed to strengthening the ecosystem of the social economy in Serbia, supporting the development of a new generation of innovative and socially oriented organizations and enterprises in order to create a strong social economy of the country.”
Csilla Ihasz, Chairwoman of the Management Board of UniCredit Bank Serbia, Serbia on this occasion added "We have gone a long way so far, and the selection of the top seven, of over 130 ideas, wasn’t an easy task. But our competition isn’t over today. Today, we are opening a new chapter, in which we will share widespread knowledge and expertise with the winners, not only our partners, but also our bank employees. Thanks to their support, these social enterprises will be ready to continue their growth and success in the domestic and international markets."
Ana Koeshall, director of the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation, regarding the proclamation of the winners said” It is my great pleasure to have successfully completed the "Idea for Better Tomorrow" competition for the third time, and once again we can boast of the very innovative ideas of our winners. I would also like to note that our work doesn’t end today, because we continue to support the winning projects in order to ensure the successful implementation of the ideas and influence the placement of products. Our projecthelps businesses that have a social component to advance their business and enter the market, and that Is something what makes this project special "
Finally, Neven Marinkovic, Head of Smart Kolektiv, stated: “In Serbia, this topic is still not sufficiently recognized, nor enjoys sufficient support, despite the great positive impact it may have on society and the economy. This project is the result of a broad partnership between the leaders in the private sector, UniCredit Bank, and in the non-profit sector, such as Divac Foundation and Smart Collective, and that is the greater the importance of them. We are especially proud that this project, in addition to the financial support provided by the UniCredit Foundation, includes long-term work with selected companies, because this type of support, in addition to the lack of available funds, is mapped as a priority by the social enterprises. Namely, over 80% of the companies that we interviewed say that key problems in their work are lack of resources and lack of professional support, knowledge and mentoring, so this project is trying to answer on both key challenges. "
In the next phase, as part of the mentoring program, by the middle of 2018, the winners will team up with experts from the Smart Collective and the employees of UniCredit Bank, who will be the most valuable support for further business - knowledge of the market and expertise of the financial sector. The mentoring program will be supported by the Center for Technical Assistance of the European Fund for Southeast Europe.