Macedonian green startup awarded at the regional competition for green ideas image

Macedonian green startup awarded at the regional competition for green ideas

On October 28th, a ceremony for announcing winners of the 10th jubilee edition of the regional competition for green businesses “Balkan Green Ideas” was held in Belgrade. Five awards in total were awarded by the international jury. In the category of embryonic ideas, the idea of the young team “O-Krug” from our country was ranked as best (production of air fresheners and essential oils from orange peel waste), while the other two awards were given to “NewPen” from Serbia (Production of graphite pencils and crayons from used newspapers and recycled paper)  and “Delicious Treasures of Permeti” from Albania (an exhibitor-shop for traditional, delicious, healthy and totally organic products of the inhabitants of Përmet). In the category of green businesses, awards were given to “Paleovraha” from Greece  (Innovative practices of sustainable agriculture “from field to shelf”) and “Botanical Project” from Kosovo  (Production of  organic products) . The first category winners won $ 5,000 (per winner), while the green businesses were awarded with $ 10,000 each that will help them to implement the green ideas.


“Winning the regional competition for green ideas, for us means that we will secure the necessary equipment to start production. O-Krug’s next steps focus on establishing partnerships with people and businesses, promoting green social entrepreneurship and providing jobs for marginalized youth. We hope that our orange scent will soon replace all harmful air fresheners in our homes, offices, hotels, cars … “- said Marija Burgieva, the Macedonian winner.


Marija Burgieva (O-Krug), Regional Winner


Our country also has competed with the idea of producing clothes and fashion accessories for pets from waste textiles (“Mini Irina Toseva”) and with the idea of opening the first toy library (Gorjana Bonevska – “Djagor”) which were the winning ideas of the national competition, traditionally organized by the Association for Social Innovation “ARNO”. The competition was held in two days and a total of 21 innovative ideas from the 6 countries of the Western Balkans and Greece participated. Due to the pandemic, this year’s competition was organized in a hybrid format.

Gorjana Bonevska, Djagor (left) and Irina Tosheva; Mini Irina Tosheva (right)

For a whole decade, the “Balkan Green Ideas” competition  supports  establishment and development of successful green ideas in the Western Balkans region and Greece. Over the past decade, the role of philanthropy in involving local communities in generating green business ideas that utilize local resources and revitalize missing traditional production chains and community-based markets has been continuously explored. The competition is a success story and an example in the Western Balkans region and Greece for encouraging communities to work together.  As the national organizer of the event, from 2015, “ARNO” is proud of the success of Macedonian ideas and the received support at regional level, which shows that almost every year Macedonian ideas return home with awards and that our country has great potential for development of green and social economy.

“Green Ideas” is an annual competition which for a decade supports the development of small, local and sustainable business ideas in Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Greece. Each year, three representatives from each country are nominated in 2 categories for prizes in the amount of 5,000 or 10,000 dollars for realization of their ideas in their countries. The Organization for Social Innovation “ARNO”, for the seventh year in a row, administers the national competition “Green Ideas” and is proud that so far the country has regional winners and a total investment of 75,000 dollars for the development of green businesses in the country: The first cooperative of organic consumers “Our Good Country” (2015), the initiative for repairing the  old furniture that grew into a small business run by the architect Marta Mojsova – “SPIN” (2016), the platform for selling cheap meals “Food for all “(2017), education through illusionist eco-messages” Green Magic Production”(2017),” Bio Smart Rice “production of rice in a sustainable way (2019), „Challenger“ ,a mobile application that rewards citizens for all the green kilometers passed by walking (2019), last year’s winning idea “Wise Additive” which produces food additive from pomace waste  (2020) and this year’s winning idea of “O-Krug” – production of air fresheners and essential oils from orange peel waste (2021).


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