“We are creating a new generation of young people who think critically, creatively and innovatively, resulting in the growth of new businesses, jobs and overall growth and sustainability of the domestic economy,” Assoc. Prof. Nedim Čelebić
International Burch University (IBU) is boldly pursuing the vision of "Achieving Excellence in Education, Research, and Innovation and Entrepreneurship through Continuous Mentoring and Academic and Life-Directing."
As the first entrepreneurial university in BiH and the region, IBU faces various challenges in developing and pushing the boundaries of BiH education. What are the challenges, as far as we are in realizing our vision, why is it good to be a Burch student? Prof. Dr. Nedim Čelebić, Vice-Rector for Planning and Development, and Professor at the IBU Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, Entrepreneur, and one of the mentors at Burch Startup Incubator.
“We achieve our vision through a series of strategic goals and measures that are crucial for the formal introduction of entrepreneurial and leadership learning at all faculties and departments of our university, the complete commitment of the university leadership to developing entrepreneurial culture at the university, treating entrepreneurship as the nucleus of the university's development strategy, continuous investment in the university's entrepreneurial infrastructure." Employment of staff with entrepreneurial experience, development of entrepreneurial skills in existing staff, integration of scientific research into curriculum, exchange of knowledge and experience through the internationalization of universities", said Dr. Čelebić added: "We are creating a new generation of young people who think critically, creatively and innovatively, resulting in the growth of new businesses, jobs and overall growth and sustainability of the domestic economy."
A major step towards an entrepreneurial university was made in 2016 when the first student incubator in Bosnia and Herzegovina was opened, “Burch Startup Incubator”. As an organizational unit at the university, Burch Startup Incubator provides students with various opportunities and additional services aimed at developing entrepreneurial and leadership skills.
“All students with an affinity for starting their own businesses have the opportunity to use the spatial infrastructure of the incubator as well as mentoring services from professors and university associates. The last phase of our entrepreneurial program involves connecting young entrepreneurs with potential domestic and foreign investors through various networking events, conferences, and competitions,” said Prof. Dr. Čelebić and added that the construction of the first university technology park in Bosnia and Herzegovina is planned in the upcoming period, which will be realized through investments from the United Kingdom.
The StartMeUp Business Ideas Competition is the central annual entrepreneurial event and one of the most important IBU projects, with the participation of high school students from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina, in addition to university students.
Burch International University, as the best private university in BiH, is always one step ahead of other universities, and the next step is to improve BiH education through STEM education. Prof. Dr. Čelebić explains: “STEM education involves education across 4 fields, namely science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and is the focus of our approach to education and research, resulting in a range of new creative and innovative products and solutions that we seek through our entrepreneurship programs and startup competitions turn into market-oriented and profitable businesses. This is IBU's next step, as most subjects in all scientific disciplines are project-oriented, resulting in a large number of creative and innovative products that complement products created through student clubs and numerous STEM workshops. ”
IBU particularly supports retention of young people in BiH by offering students’ quality education and practice, which at the end of their studies results in a quality starting pool for the real, business world. Most students are hired immediately after their studies, and many of them find jobs during their studies as IBU provides them with cooperation with leading companies and employers' associations.
“Our true strength comes from strategic cooperation and partnerships with leading domestic and foreign firms and employers' associations in the country. Through the aforementioned partnerships, we create added value for students through guest lectures, company visits, case study design, mentoring for startup ideas, investment for promising business ideas, internships and employment, all of which aim to offer a sustainable solution for youth employment and stay of young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, concluded Prof. Dr. Čelebić.