RISE ALUMNI AWARDS: Call for Applications image

RISE ALUMNI AWARDS: Call for Applications

ARNO is proud to share the Open Call for RISE ALUMNI Awards, established for the first time ever! Building a strong community of young social entrepreneurs in the Western Balkans is our direction and we call all previous RISErs (Teams that participated in the Demo Days in  2021/ 2022/2023) to apply. The Call is available only in English. All details are bellow:


RISE is not just a program for social entrepreneurs; it is a community of young social innovators and leaders changing the region with their ideas and actions. In the previous three RISE Journeys, RISE has supported 365 young people and 130 ideas from every corner of the Western Balkans. We are delighted to witness their growth and impact and we stay committed to our mission to strengthen this community.

For this reason, the RISE project is launching the RISE alumni awards. The RISE alumni awards symbolize the strong belief and hope that the RISE partners place in its young social entrepreneurs. These awards are not only a recognition of RISErs’ achievements but also a means to offer further support. They are intended for motivated alumni, who continued with their journey in the social entrepreneurship world, and who want to grow, scale, and enlarge their impact. And who are RISE alumni? RISE teams that have successfully completed the ideation phase of one of the RISE Journeys (pitched on the Demo Day). The awards will grant two (2) RISE alumni teams an additional €5,000 for further development of their ideas/social enterprises.


The RISE alumni awards are open to all RISE alumni teams (RISE Journey 1, 2, and 3), except the RISE teams currently in the incubation phase of the RISE Journey 3.
In order to apply, the teams should:

  • have successfully finished one of the RISE Journeys (pitched on the Demo Day)
  • have continued with the same idea/social enterprise as in the respective RISE Journey (read: new ideas/new social enterprises/entities are not supported)
  • have continuous activity since completing the RISE Journey (ex. Economic-sales or non-economic-participation in other incubation or acceleration programs, training, conferences, media presence,) (read: the team and the idea didn’t stop)
  • have already developed a prototype of their product or service (read: it’s not at “ah we still have the idea only” level)
  • have a detailed plan for the development of their social enterprise/idea (read: plan of activities for the future)
  • have an expenditure plan/budget for the RISE Alumni Award (read: budget that is necessary for the progress)
  • be available to participate in person at the RISE Regional Forum from 12-14 September in Skopje, North Macedonia (read: physical presence at the event is “a must”)
  • have a good command of the English language (at least the person who will pitch at the Forum)



Here are the steps for the process:

  1. All interested teams need to submit their applications by filling out the following Application Form by the 24th of July, 23.59h.
  2. Each Local Incubator* will create a Commission in each of the respecting contracting parties that will pre-select the teams.
  3. Each Local Incubator selects one (1) RISE team. In total, 6 teams will pitch at the Forum. Please note pitching sessions for pre-selection will not be organized (read: teams need to have solid/convincing applications)
  4. Teams will be notified by the LIs on the results (dates will vary by Local Incubator)

*The pre-selection will be the responsibility of each Local Incubator (ARNO, North Macedonia; Nešto Više, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Balkan Green Foundation-Kosovo*[1]; Yunus Social Business, Albania; Smart Kolektiv, Serbia; and IPC Technopolis, Montenegro).


Each Local Incubator Commission will deliberate the decision based on the following criteria:

  • Motivation and ambition of the RISE alumni team
  • Quality of the plan for the development of the idea/social enterprise (projected activities)
  • Capacity for absorption of the award and the quality of the expenditure plan (projected financial structure)
  • Potential for sustainability, scaling, and replication of the idea/social enterprise in the region
  • Potential for the creation of additional jobs (especially inclusion of the beneficiaries and target groups)

Additional criteria: advantage will be given to ideas in an advanced stage or already registered entities, ideas with proof of concept, or ideas/entities that have secured further funding for developing their social enterprise.  (read: RISE teams that made progress after the RISE Journey)


The pre-selected teams, 6 in total (one member per team only) will be invited to participate* at the RISE Regional Forum taking place from 12-14 September 2023 in Skopje, North Macedonia. The working language of the Forum is English (without exceptions).

The teams will pitch their idea/social enterprise in front of a Jury Commission consisting of international experts and professionals in the social economy field. The Jury Commission will select the best two (2) teams that receive a financial award.
More info on preparations, timing, format, and details will be timely provided by the Local Incubators prior to the Regional Forum.

*The expenses for participation will be covered by the RISE project.


The awards will grant two (2) alumni teams an additional €5,000 (each) for further development of their social enterprises/ideas. Further information about legal and administrative matters will be provided after the Forum.


The call for applications is open until the 24th of July, 23.59h.
For any questions, please contact your RISE Local Incubator managers:

ARNO, North Macedonia – marjan@arno.org.mk
Nešto Više, Bosnia and Herzegovina – ademlisicic@nestovise.org
Smart Kolektiv, Serbia – jelena.bogdanov@smartkolektiv.org
Yunus Social Business, Albania – sonila.necaj@yunussb.com
Balkan Green Foundation, Kosovo – lirika.raca@balkangreenfoundation.org
IPC Technopolis, Montenegro – bozidar@tehnopolis.me

The RISE project is supported by the Agence Française de Développement, the European Union, and Regional Youth Cooperation Office. The RISE project is led by a consortium made up of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), SOS PULSE GROUP, South East European Youth Network (SEEYN), the French Institute, and the Franco-German Youth Office (OFAY), and implemented by six local incubators – ARNO, Balkan Green Foundation, Nesto vise, Smart Kolektiv, IEC Tehnopolis, and Yunus Social Business.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.


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