PoweUp: About the Program


About the Program

Find out more about the benefits

Program for innovative SMEs and startups from the Western Balkans. Adapt your business model, build your resilience and expand your market presence!

  • Are you an innovative firm looking for new ways of attracting customers or adapting your business model?
  • Are you looking to rapidly improve your COVID-19 resilience, bounce back and achieve measurable results in the short term?
  • Are you considering outside funding, or want to make your firm more attractive to investors?
  • Are you interested in free assistance to grow your firm from Deloitte, one of the World’s leading consultancies?
  • Are you interested in networking with other companies, investors, and successful entrepreneurs and corporate representatives?


If your answer is yes, the PowerUP program is for you!

The World Bank, under its PowerUP: Capacity Building for Early Stage Firms in the Western Balkans program is launching a dedicated program for more than 200 companies funded by the European Union under the Western Balkans Enterprise Development & Innovation Facility (WB EDIF) and implemented with the support of the eminent consulting firm Deloitte.

About the Program

PowerUP is a free of charge program designed for SMEs and start-ups who are looking for new ways to attract customers, adapt their business models, and who are potentially interested in the outside investment. All selected participating companies will receive capacity building support and training package aimed at increasing their investment readiness and supporting their growth prospects and resilience to COVID-19 and similar external shocks. The capacity building program would provide valuable know-how and focus on the topics of customers and market, financial and internal performance, branding and pitching.

The Program is aimed to last from October 2020 until February 2021.

Around 100 best performing companies from the Program will be invited to compete in the “PowerUP Finals” in an attractive location in the Western Balkans in the month of March 2021 and showcase their business on stage to an exclusively invited group of angel investors, venture capitalists, experienced entrepreneurs, corporate and media representatives. All companies participating in the finals would receive significant exposure and recognition, as they would be promoted in the local and regional media.


Three best pitches will win the Western Balkan Entrepreneurial Excellence Award for different categories as well as exclusive, tailor-made business advisory support by local and regional experts from the world's largest consulting firm Deloitte.

Criteria for the participation in the Program

  • Firms should be legally incorporated and registered in one of the six countries of Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo1, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia);
  • Firms should be operating for at least 1 year;
  • Firms should have between 3-100 employees;
  • Firms should be innovative and have a product/service that is generating revenue in at least one market and for which the firm is looking to boost sales;
  • Firms may not engage in the production of alcohol, tobacco or arms (weapons), or related industries. The organizers reserve the right to exclude firms whose activities are deemed likely to create reputational risks for program organizers, coaches, fellow participants, or others.

For EU, this designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.



How to apply?
Deadline for application is October 4, 2020.

There is a limited number of places in the program and the selection among those who qualify will be made considering the industry and country diversification. If needed, the timeline of the program would be adjusted to COVID-19 pandemic situation.

COVID-19 recovery | capacity building | entrepreneurship | pitching investors | free training | SME help | Startup help | business model help | start-up program | funding start-ups | how to boost sales | program for SMEs

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