Roughly half of North Macedonia’s population under the age of 29 considers leaving the country to look for opportunities elsewhere. This is a significant challenge to the sustainability of the country’s economy and democracy. Since 2016, CIPE programs have played an important role in supporting the development of an emerging entrepreneurial class in North Macedonia.
CIPE and its local civil society partner Startup Macedonia are currently developing an entrepreneurship mentoring program coupled with a networking platform for mentors and mentees. With CIPE assistance, mentors will enhance their abilities to provide effective services on building, sustaining, and growing companies. The mentorship program will also promote business ethics, corporate citizenship, investment opportunities for entrepreneurs, and link new enterprises to North Macedonia’s diaspora.
In prior phases, CIPE and the William Davidson Institute (WDI) at the University of Michigan supported Youth Educational Forum (YEF) with providing entrepreneurship training for aspiring young entrepreneurs that went on to take part in business ideas competitions. To complement this effort, CIPE also engaged the European Policy Institute (EPI) to identify and advocate recommendations to address existing barriers to entrepreneurship for youth in North Macedonia. Based on EPI’s analysis and CIPE’s diagnosis of North Macedonia’s ecosystem, mentorship for nascent companies is crucial to help business ideas mature into profit making enterprises.