Serbian youth are the key to agricultural development

On September 5, in collaboration with the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation and the municipality of Svilajnac, the Big Small Businesses project (Project) established the second Youth Rural Business Fund (YRBF) for students at the Agricultural-veterinary high school in Svilajnac.  

A growing number of youths in Serbia have a declining interest in working on their family farms. This shift in attitude primarily arises from the perception that agricultural jobs have low productivity and offer relatively meager wages. Consequently, agricultural high school enrollments have consistently declined throughout the country. Recognizing the importance of empowering young people to strengthen market systems in the agriculture sector, the Project aims to simplify access to financial resources and improve the competitiveness of youth-led businesses. It also collaborates with key partners on innovative education and workforce development approaches.

The first YRBF was established in November 2022 in cooperation with the municipalities of Požega, Užice, Čajetina, Arilje,  and Prijepolje and the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation for the senior students of the Ljubo Mićić Agricultural High School in Požega . The combined value of these two funds amounts to 5,750,000, and 32 youths received grants that enabled them to invest in a range of assets, including farm machinery, livestock, seedlings, greenhouses, and other essential equipment.

This initiative has provided grants to youth and played a crucial role in educating them on business planning and the application process for other funding opportunities. Collaborating closely with agricultural schools and dedicated mentors throughout the school year, students have gained valuable insights and guidance in drafting business plans and applications for funding.