Pioneering innovation: high school students in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the forefront

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy has spawned many business ideas

April 29, 2024

Vogošća High School Center Team


Imagine classrooms where school desks are not just places to sit, but spaces for interactive, dynamic, and exciting learning. This transformation of the school environment has long been the dream of high school students from the Municipality of Vogošća. In their desire to change the monotonous and sometimes uncomfortable experience of being in traditional classrooms, they designed the "Edu Tech Desk" - an innovative school desk.

The vision of the "Edu Tech Desk" was conceived by Sarah Čardaković, Namik Fazlić, and Adin Jusubašić, a creative trio from the Vogošća High School Center. From the beginning, they believed in this idea, without giving much thought to where it might lead them. However, the story from this small community quickly spread and brought the high school students one step closer to realizing their business venture.

“We were motivated by our own personal experiences where we were subjected to the discomfort and monotony of traditional classrooms. We recognized this as the main problem hindering intellectual creativity among young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), where we are quite limited in community engagement."
said student Sarah Čardaković

The young creatives from Vogošća describe their "Edu Tech Desk" as a smart desk with an integrated display that provides limited access to students, depending on their needs. Similar projects exist worldwide, but the "Edu Tech Desk" is the first of its kind in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Therefore, Sarah, Namik, and Adin can be considered pioneers of innovation in the field of educational technology in BiH.

"We hope that our smart desks will be the future for the new generations in our country," says Čardaković.

High school students highlight the mobility of this smart desk as a significant advantage, enabling the creation of an interactive atmosphere in classrooms. Additionally, the desk is adaptable to all age groups.

Student Adin Jusubašić says that the "Edu Tech Desk" is a revolutionary project that will help new generations complete school tasks through virtual excursions. Meanwhile, Namik Fazlić believes that the innovative learning approach with smart desks will motivate students to achieve better results.

Fortunately, the story of the "Edu Tech Desk" smart desks didn't stay within the walls of the Vogošća High School Center. It led Sarah, Namik, and Adin to the winning position at the "Young Entrepreneurs Academy." This is an innovative program that took place from October 2023 to May 2024, involving 150 students from 11 high schools in the Sarajevo Canton.

"The Young Entrepreneurs Academy" was implemented as part of the project "Economic Governance for Growth" (EGG2), in collaboration with the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology (SSST) University, with the support of the Ministry of Education of the Sarajevo Canton and the Institute for the Development of Pre-University Education of the Sarajevo Canton. The EGG2 project is funded by the Kingdom of Norway and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNDP).

"The Academy provided us with the opportunity to step out of our comfort zone, expand our knowledge of entrepreneurship, develop new work habits, and prove to ourselves and our community that every effort pays off and that every desire is achievable with hard work and discipline,"
said Čardaković.

Sarah Cardakovic


Student Namik Fazlić adds, "I learned what it means to be imaginative and how to seek and identify solutions to existing problems."

The students who participated in this program had the opportunity to learn various entrepreneurship skills. The Academy opened doors for young creatives to venture into the world of entrepreneurship through practical work on business realization, which they had the opportunity to present at the final competition held in Sarajevo in late April 2024. Additionally, students had the opportunity to learn from some of the greatest experts in the field through mentoring sessions also conducted through the Academy.

"Seven wonderful months filled with work, effort, and unforgettable Saturday mornings culminated in victory. We have big plans for the future, both in terms of developing the market and continually working on improving our product," said student Adin Jusubašić.

However, even though their idea, the "Edu Tech Desk," was declared the best, Jusubašić emphasizes that all the ideas presented by students on the final day inspire hope for a bright future of entrepreneurship in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"We are aware that an opportunity like this comes once in a lifetime. We are grateful to have been part of this project and to have realized an important life lesson that should never stop being repeated, which is that only hard work, effort, and knowledge have power in this world. It is up to us to minimize the shortcomings that are part of every endeavor and to focus solely on achieving our goal, which is the key to better and more profitable entrepreneurship,"
emphasized Jusubašić.

The winning team from Vogošća was awarded laptops, a voucher from Sparkasse Bank worth 1.000 BAM, and mentoring from Mozaik startup studio at the final competition. Additionally, the winning team received a 50 percent scholarship for studies at the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology (SSST) University if they decide to enroll.

Narine Sahakyan, Resident Representative a.i. of UNDP in BiH, stated that the students who participated in the Academy showed impressive results, but everyone owes a great deal of gratitude to the teachers and mentors who dedicatedly trained the youth over the course of seven months.

Narine Sahakyan, Resident Representative a.i. of UNDP in BiH

"Entrepreneurship clubs and the Academy have become platforms for nurturing talents, encouraging passionate approaches, and fostering an entrepreneurial spirit. Young people around the world today demonstrate extraordinary creativity, innovation, and resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges confronting our society. I am sincerely impressed by the motivation, brilliance, and dedication I have seen among young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina,"
concluded Ms. Sahakyan, urging young people to believe in their abilities because the future belongs to them.

In line with the global efforts to foster sustainable development and economic growth, digitalization and youth entrepreneurship have emerged as key priorities within the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) initiatives both at the country level and on the global stage. Recognizing the transformative potential of digital technologies and the dynamism of young entrepreneurs, UNDP is committed to supporting innovative solutions that harness the power of technology and empower the next generation of leaders to drive inclusive and sustainable development forward.