The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding today marked the official start of the SDG Accelerator for SMEs in the UN House in Sarajevo.
The SDG Accelerator for SMEs is an innovative project of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The concept was founded in Denmark, and was tested in 2018 and 2019 with 30 Danish small and medium-sized industrial companies.
UNDP is the leading UN development organization with a presence in more than 170 countries and territories and a comprehensive network of global experts. As such, UNDP has a strong position in relation to implementing the SDGs across sectors, industries and markets. The SDG Accelerator focuses on adjusting existing knowledge and tools for each company and supports the company in operationalizing the SDGs in their specific business context.
The expenses of participation for the SDG Accelerator for SMEs will be covered by the „SDGs Roll-out Support and Private Sector Engagement“, implemented by UNDP BiH and financed by Government of Sweden.
“With the SDG Accelerator for SMEs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we want to show that the concept developed in Denmark can work in this part of Europe as well. We also hope that this ‘innovation journey’ will inspire other companies to see how the global agenda for sustainable development can be applied in a business context”, Steliana Nedera, UNDP Resident Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said in her opening address.
The SDG Accelerator is aiming to accelerate innovation and growth of small and medium sized enterprises in BiH through development of new business solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The project involves working with five companies selected after the tender procedure, namely EdenGarden, Koteks, Jaffa Komerc, Plantago, and Softhouse Balkans.
The companies are part of a 6-month Innovation Journey focusing on fast-tracking ideas with strong SDG and business potential, the identification of new products, services or business models, and concrete business plans at the end of prototype development.
The Innovation Journey comprises of five stages, including three one-on-one meetings with each company and two joint workshops with all companies, as well as global UN experts, other experts, relevant business partners and investors. The purpose is to ensure the right input for making the business and SDG ideas reality while building the right capabilities with each company.
Søren Schou from Deloitte Denmark emphasized that it is necessary for a company to really want to succeed and to believe in themselves and their capabilities. This will be the only way to overcome the obstacles they face during their engagement within the SDG Accelerator.
Representatives of the companies that will participate in the SDG Accelerator agreed that this innovative project is a challenge for them, but a very exciting challenge and they cannot wait to get started. SDG Accelerator for SMEs is unique in that it combines UNDP’s insights into the challenges embedded in the SDGs with the advice of carefully selected experts, as well as the advisory competencies of the renowned Deloitte company in the innovation process. SDG Accelerator for SMEs was developed in close collaboration with Nordic companies with extensive experience in integrating sustainability into innovation, business strategy and communication.