How it works
The Balkan Green Academy (BGA) combines the modules and topics under Policy, Society and Economy in a set of hybrid sessions that last between 3 to 4 hours per day, in a course of 10 x half-day sessions spread over 2 weeks. Every day,
you will be able to learn something new, engage with different topics and speakers, and also, get inspired and creative about your own business or idea development.
Lots of hearts and brains went into designing this online academy for you. Our main objective was to offer a space for:
- New ideas and learnings
- Gaining practical skills that you can apply now or in the future
- Encourage collaboration and connections
- Feel good
Meet people behind BGA
The program will be led by 2 lead facilitators and hosts: Bistra Kumbaroska from Heartbeats Innovation and Communication and Peter Ptashko from Cambio Consulting. The Academy will also feature a number of specific module experts and
a number of successful green entrepreneurs from different countries who will share their real-life experiences with you. We have selected the experts and mentors based on your stage of development - and we hope they will serve
as a great source of know-how and inspiration. To learn more about all the people and businesses you will meet in this Academy, just scroll through below.
Bistra Kumbaroska - Lead Facilitator
A social innovator, entrepreneur and a poet, Bistra supports individuals, organisations and companies in combining innovative tools to grow their impact. Her passion for entrepreneurship took her on a journey through Europe,
Sub-Sahara Africa, and South-East Asia, developing and managing projects, programs and systems of support for social innovation. She has worked with Impact Hub, GSEN, UNIDO and other relevant networks in the field. She
has been involved in the creation and scaling of more than 5 networks and entities across different industries in CEE and has organized, facilitated and shared her experience at more than 143 international events and conferences
so far. At the moment, she works as a managing partner of Vienna and Ljubljana based agency Heartbeats Innovation & Communication.
Peter Ptashko, Lead Facilitator
Peter Ptashko is a social entrepreneur, founder and supporter of social entrepreneurs and currently an independent entrepreneurship change management consultant working with a range of clients in both the Public and Private sectors. He has over 10 years
experience working in the field of social enterprise globally, having launched his first venture in 2005 - raising £25,000 in just 7 hours. Since then he has worked for UnLtd: the UK foundation for social entrepreneurs,
supporting thousands of social entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses, securing an investment of over £10m from universities across England. He is the former Director of the Global Social Entrepreneurship Network
(GSEN), coordinating its 60 members in over 70 countries to better support social entrepreneurs around the world. Before this he was based previously in their Mexico office, with a focus on Impact Investment in Latin America.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.
Christina believes that every business, brand or product has a story to tell. And a good one, too. Her own story started in the field of journalism but already in 2005 she moved from print to online. During her 8 years in London she discovered how Content
Marketing, Storytelling and Responsible Communication can enable sustainable success - something that became her biggest passion. Christina’s experience in creating positive integrated social impact through marketing and
communications spans sectors, including corporate brands, impact-driven startups, international networks, innovative nonprofits and small foundations. She has designed content marketing programs for events and conferences,
and served as strategic consultant to organisations, companies and institutions in CEE and Western Balkans. Christina has worked with clients such as WWF, Helvetas, Swiss Contact Mondi, Red Bull, Nivea, Impact Hub Vienna
and many more.
Antonio is a trainer, activist and a social entrepreneur. He is the founder and president of a youth environmental NGO (www.gogreen.mk) where he works on training and policy related to youth eco-activism, education for sustainable development, green economy
and green jobs. Antonio is a senior trainer at a Train the trainers course in Germany (Its up to me) and a member of the Pool of trainers of Youth@Work partnership. Antonio has been recognised as an expert for the “Civic
Engagement” competence area and trainings on education and jobs for circular economy, greening youth workers and social-eco entrepreneurship.
Nicci has a strong background in communications. After gaining wide and varied experience at different agencies, she followed her entrepreneurial spirit and launched her own agency, which she ran for 6 years. During this time she faced her own challenges.
In navigating the ups and downs of running a business, Nicci embarked on a journey of discovery. She did extensive research into what makes a small business a success and the pitfalls to avoid in attaining its vision. In
2015, she shifted her focus to the entrepreneurship space and started working with small and growing businesses, focused on social and green causes. Her qualifications and credentials aside, she has an innate ability to
cut through the clutter and help business owners and individuals uncover what is holding their businesses back.
Alex has specific expertise in Green Policy & Activism as well as a broader interest and passion for human rights. He studied at both the University of Warwick and Imperial College London in the UK before establishing himself in the German Federal Foreign
Office and receiving senior postings in both China and now Berlin.
Meet Green Startup founders
Joris Olde Rikkert, CEO and founder of treemendo
treemendo was developed to empower people to plant forests. 50% of the global population lives in cities, and is thus increasingly disconnected from nature. Moreover, 20% of the land is degraded and the planting of 1 trillion trees is necessary to achieve
the IPCC 2 degrees goals. We created the Treemendo platform because we believe everyone should have the ability to interact with nature and contribute positively to the environment.
Karin Kuranda, CEO and froundress of endlos fesch
Founded in 2017, endlos fesch is the first fashion library in Vienna, renting out unique and high-quality designer clothing to women at affordable prices. At party-like pop up events (and a glass of prosecco) clients take advantage of an endless wardrobe
of sustainably sourced fashionable items, thereby pursuing an eco-friendly lifestyle. endlos fesch applies zero waste technologies and sustainable practices along their value chain and thereby contribute to a cleaner and
greener world. Moreover, the business aims to create an innovative social business that extends the product lifecycle of clothes, reduces the amount of textile waste and CO2 emissions, raises awareness of slow fashion and
encourages members to change unsustainable consumption patterns.
Pezana Rexha, CEO and foundress of Design by Pana
Design by Pana is a social enterprise based in Tirana, Albania, that contributes to reduce furniture waste and supports social utility. Founded by the architect Pezana Rexha, Design by Pana manufactures high quality wooden furniture for bars, restaurants
and interiors - from recycled wood only. Further, Design by Pana employs vulnerable people from marginalised groups (such as orphans, pensioners, the disabled, members of the Roma community), in order to enable them to
return back to work.
Miriam Mlczoch, CEO and foundress of in love with paper
in love with paper is a notebook design company based in Vienna. It started in 2019 with a successful crowdfunding campaign for the print production of the book „Ikigai or A good life“, a book full of questions. The same year it also published „me & my
friends“, a friendship book for adults. In. 2020, in the company also launched its first collection of notebooks made from sustainable paper, planting a tree for every notebook. in love with paper loves to design notebooks
for individuals but also for corporate clients: either by branding existing notebooks or designing new unique notebooks.
Miriam Mlczoch, CEO and foundress of in love with paper
"Green School Days " is an environmental - hands on- educational program, addressed to teachers, parents and children. The main goal is to spread green culture into school communities. In order to achieve that, Mama gea is collaborating with teachers of
schools and and building a community of of teachers, parents and children. The educational programme aims to familiarize participants with daily life practices related to environment, urban resilience, waste management,
active citizenship and circular economy will be created. This initiative was started by "Mama gea ", an NGO based in Greece, designs and implements actions for changing the daily life of cities and neighborhoods.
Branko Krsmanovic, CEO and founder of City&Me
City&Me is a digital response to the needs of the citizens to communicate, be active, and act sustainably in their urban communities - cities. As an innovative application, City&Me enables citizens to communicate and participate in decision-making at
the level of the local community, as well as encourage their activities in the field of recycling, cycling, and voting for local initiatives through rewards for activities that they carry out through the application.
Erhan Ali Yilmaz, CEO and cofounder of Studio
Studio is a marketplace for live wellbeing courses. From nutrition to yoga classes, to one-on-one therapy, Studio offers all mental health options for live and affordable sessions. Studio is designed and developed by Mindfulness Academy Team. Founded
in 2015, Mindfulness Academy is a mindfulness course content provider for mindfulness teachers and Individuals. . To date, it has met 17.000 students in face to face classes along with 54 institutions, giving mindfulness
courses in 8 different cities in Turkey and 8 different countries worldwide. And have trained 50 mindfulness teachers.
Introduction to Impactful Business: Steps to Start-Up
In the opening session of the Academy we will share the essential steps to starting and growing your social, green enterprise. From characteristics and attributes of an ‘impact’ entrepreneur, to the theory and core practice
that shapes their success. An opening session that will set the scene for the next two weeks. Live session: Zoom link
The SDGs and the EU Green Deal: What next for the Western Balkans?
This model is dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), initiated by UN as well as the EU Green Deal. You will learn more about these two important programmes and how to best incorporate them into the practices
of your company.
Value Proposition and Building Partnerships
Here we will examine what makes a successful value proposition - essentially your USP (Unique Selling Point) and how you can use this to build partnerships and grow your stakeholder network. Here we will critique a range of
real-world examples to help guide you.
Deep Dive: Social Business Model Canvas
From placards in protest to profit with purpose - how can the role of activism and the green community aid the success of social enterprises focussed on climate and nature.
Social enterprises, as well as green enterprises, take a business approach to achieving their mission and making a difference. To ensure lasting impact, they require a viable business model. A Social Business Model Canvas provides
a powerful visual tool to help with business model design. It’s an adaptation of a well-known technique, first developed by Alexander Osterwalder.
The Role of Activism and the Green Community
From placards in protest to profit with purpose - how can the role of activism and the green community aid the success of social enterprises focussed on climate and nature
Impact Communication & Responsible Storytelling
Learn about content marketing basics that allow us to reach the right people with the right message at the right time on the right channel (s). All of it combined with clear impact communication and responsible storytelling
Deep Dive: Legal Frameworks and the Governance of Green Businesses
Green entrepreneurship is highly influenced by national and local legal frameworks. In this session you will learn more about navigating into the legal world and applying different governance models for internal clarity and
Impact Measurement & Theory of Change
We will profile a variety of methods of measuring your social impact - focussing on easy to use approaches that you can learn and apply in no time at all. Then we will introduce a more complex approach that will help you keep
your organisation on track with its mission, vision and values - the Theory of Change.
Finance, Fundraising and Alternative Funding
Learn the basics of financial terminology and management crucial for any startup, with focus on diverse sources of funding.
Final Day OF BGA
Summarising the week’s learning and establishing a legacy for the Academy and its alumni
Click here to continue to Alumni Intranet Portal