In this Strategy it has been stated that the proposed activities should target the poorest and the most vulnerable groups of population, among which are refugees and IDPs. As regards the economic and social position, the estimation is that over 25% of the refugees and IDPs (about 120.000 persons) belong to the category of poor, which is a ratio 2.5 times higher than among the local population.
However, there are many problems on the road of a successful economic development that need to be resolved. High unemployment and poverty rate, restructuring economy, undeveloped entrepreneur spirit among citizens are only some of the problems Serbia is facing. The education level among refugees and IDPs - especially regarding relevant skills to participate in the knowledge based economy - is low*.
Economic empowerment component within this project is, also, in accordance with the National employment strategy and the Strategy for development of SME . The project would provide necessary education, advice and professional and financial support to the refugees and IDPs who wish to become successful members of the SME sector and acquire important skills and knowledge. The project promotes education and self-employment and development of entrepreneurship as the most efficient ways to develop economy in a local community and overcome the problem of unemployment among vulnerable groups, primarily refugees and IDPs, through opening new jobs in the private sector.
To enable economic and social integration of the beneficiaries, IAN with its partner organization Group 484, established a pilot Social Enterprise Bizian Grupa in Belgrade area. Social enterprises are a new concept in Serbia.
The newly established Social Enterprise offers the following services to the future entrepreneurs:
- Initial provision of premises and accompanying resources
- Market analysis
- Preparation of business plans
- Selection, training, and coaching for the employees in the new enterprises
- Legal assistance, especially for registration
- Financial services - accounting and bookkeeping
Establishment of the Bizian Grupa will greatly rely on the fact that IAN is organization with intensive experience in the field of education and employment of members of the hard-to-employ groups, as well as their staff that may provide good quality services offered within Social enterprise.
Second part of economic empowerment component will be oriented towards professional education i.e. developing skills and competencies required for active participation of young refugees and IDPs in job hunting at the labor market and their more successful inclusion into society. Knowledge of ICT, English language or Communication skills are required to look for a job. This activity is directed towards vocational education of the young refugees and IDPs aged 18 to 25 for the position of Administrative Assistant - Secretary. The training, among other, includes computer classes to acquire the international certificate ECDL, Business communication courses, Training for work with office equipment and documentation. IAN and Group 484 will provide an opportunity for all beneficiaries to do a two-week internship/shadowing in IAN and Group 484 offices at the position of the administrative assistant with the professional assistance IAN and Group 484 staff .
* The research "Use of IT technologies in the Republic of Serbia, 2007" published by the Statistical office of the Republic of Serbia revealed that in Central Serbia only 26,3% of households has a computer, while in poor households, the category that includes refugees and IDPs (with income lower than 300 Eur o), only 20,5% owns a PC. Finally, 52,3% of the total population in Serbia has never used a computer, most of them have only primary or secondary education and/or are unemployed.