31 October 2018

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The local woodworker and the entrepreneurship fund

The European Fund for Southeast Europe helps turn talent into success

Back in 2016, Damir Bajraktarević was at an impasse.

Experience making his own guitars had provided the young musician with enough woodworking skills to try his hand at something new: selling handmade wooden eyeglass frames from his Sarajevo workshop. Beautiful and high-quality, the snazzy specs attracted attention – and Bajraktarević’s new company, Dawood, soon had orders rushing in.

But starting a new business left Bajraktarević feeling like he needed to be everywhere at once. “My problem was organizing the production process,” he says. “I was doing part of one process, then part of another one, and then part of another. It needed to be more efficient.”

Fortunately, one of the funds Finance in Motion advises – the European Fund for Southeast Europe, or EFSE – offers technical assistance that includes equipping entrepreneurs with the tools they need to thrive. The fund’s Development Facility often joins forces with local business support organizations to create, develop, and sponsor programs that address the specific challenges faced by the community’s business owners. When Bajraktarević turned to the mentoring program offered by EFSE together with Sarajevo-based accelerator organization SERDA, the young woodworker was introduced to business coaches who knew just how to help.

The advice paid off. After just three mentoring sessions, Bajraktarević was able to fine-tune his production process so that his output nearly doubled. Dawood was soon making enough fashionable frames to stock shelves at retailers and distributors in Sarajevo and beyond, and business today is booming.

In fact, the company has become so successful that Bajraktarević’s new challenge is growth. To stay on top of rising demand, the craftsman aims to purchase a new woodworking machine and expand his business: “The new machine would allow me to introduce a new product line, and even hire some staff.”

These plans need capital, of course. And Bajraktarević sees another EFSE opportunity on the horizon: The EFSE Entrepreneurship Tournament will be held in Sarajevo City Hall on November 20, 2018. Sponsored by the EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy, the tournament will showcase promising local entrepreneurs to a panel of judges and investors, who will then award prizes to support these entrepreneurs’ business growth.

“I see the EFSE Entrepreneurship Tournament as a chance to accelerate my business,” says Bajraktarević.  

Whether helping new businesses gain traction or providing them with the means to grow, EFSE provides support for all stages of entrepreneurship.

Follow along on Twitter and Facebook to stay abreast of the upcoming EFSE Entrepreneurship Tournament!