Making Markets work for te next generation

MarketMakers (MM) introduces missing and strengthens underperforming market functions in the IT and Business/Knowledge-Process-Outsourcing (BPO/KPO) sectors in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). MM induces economic growth in private companies and contributes to create new and better jobs. MM further supports youth employment and entrepreneurship by improving conditions for self-employment, business creation and freelancing. This consolidation phase of MM will ensure further scale and sustainability of interventions. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Tradepolicy & market system
Business support & economic inclusion
Advanced professional training
01.06.2021 - 31.12.2026
CHF  2’300’000
Background Major challenges for the labour market in BiH are the weak growth in the private sector and a low level of job creation in the formal economy. The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has reversed positive trends in employment. Due to the pandemic, tourism, food production and processing sectors have contracted, while IT and BPO/KPO have remained resilient. Employment in the IT sector remains attractive (72% higher salaries than the BiH average), but 42% of vacant posts cannot be filled due to a lack of skilled candidates. The BPO/KPO sector has 14,300 employees and is expected to rise to 18,500 in 2022. With COVID-19 associated restrictions affecting traditional outsourcing destinations in Asia, BiH has gained more visibility and managed to take over some of the outsourcing service functions previously performed in those locations. Freelancing continues to be a largely unexplored source of employment for youth, yet it is showing great potential, thanks to increasing digitalisation and the opportunities of working from home and starting a business.
Objectives The overarching goal of MM Phase 3 is to ensure increased and better employment opportunities for young women and men and their ability to realise entrepreneurial opportunities in the long term, thereby improving their sustainable participation in the labour market.
Target groups The main target groups are unemployed young women and men aged 15-29 who are seeking employment. This includes (i) young job seekers in the labour market, (ii) youth working informally and suffering from precarious working conditions, (iii) secondary school students who have to make decisions about their profession, (iv) young people already in professional education and vocational training programmes, and (v) young professionals seeking to establish their career paths or start their own business. 
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome I (employment component): Employers (private sector companies) increase competitiveness through a sustained adoption of new/improved growth-oriented and/or gender-responsive, socially-inclusive business practices and, ultimately, new and better jobs are created.

Outcome II (entrepreneurship component): Micro-enterprises increase competitiveness through the sustained adoption of new/improved growth-oriented and/or gender-responsive, socially-inclusive business practices, and new ventures are created thanks to wide-ranging or gender-specific barriers to trading/entry being over-come.


Expected results:  

Instigating systemic changes that contribute to the improvement of labour demand, supply and intermediation problems, and ultimately allow employers to take advantage of opportunities to grow.

Instigating and nurturing systemic changes that contribute to the improvement of the business environment for new entrants (sole proprietorships, small business start-ups) and self-employed individuals (freelancers).

Results from previous phases:  

By December 2020, 1,544 individuals (666 f) were employed as a result of project interventions, while 506 young people (50% f) increased their employability through (re)training schemes, work-based education and internships.

Private sector investment in supported sectors was CHF 3.8 m in December 2020, (target CHF 2.8 m).

MM has supported the establishment of two portals that aim to increase employment in the IT sector ( and self-employment (, both of which have a strong focus on women.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project partners Contract partner
Swiss Non-profit Organisation
  • HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation

Other partners
The BiH Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, Ministry of Communication, entity and cantonal ministries for labour and entrepreneurship, regional development agencies, tax administration authorities, private companies in the IT and BPO/KPO sectors, business associations, NGOs.
Coordination with other projects and actors Mozaik Foundation and the Swiss Entrepreneurship Program. 
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    2’300’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    2’111’407
Project phases Phase 3 01.06.2021 - 31.12.2026   (Current phase) Phase 2 01.06.2017 - 31.05.2021   (Completed) Phase 1 02.04.2012 - 31.05.2017   (Completed)