While most of the youth population is leaving the country looking for a better life, a student of International Finance at the American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Avdo Halilović decided to start his own business and stay in BiH. He did not accept tempting offer from the UK, who offered him money and all other conditions because, he said, wants to develop a domestic brand.
Halilović is the founder of Kimbly, which manufactures disposable and reusable hygiene products based on its own patents. This young inventor patented two inventions - Disposable hygiene cover and Holder for medical instruments.
The idea came from the need
The idea for the Disposable hygiene cover came from the need. Every weekend he traveled 80 kilometers in one direction from Sarajevo to his birth city Kladanj.
“Mostly because of the tiredness, people rarely think who sat before them on the seats of public transportation. Thinking about this, millions of pictures of people, with a variety of dermatological diseases, poor hygiene habits who slept in the same seat, passed through my head. So, to solve this problem, I invented this Disposable hygiene cover with universal dimensions, sterile, adaptable to every seat, easy to use, environmentally friendly, and with affordable price. When I saw few people how they’re covering their seats with a shopping bags, I realized that it was not just me who thinks that there is a problem, so I decided for independent production” said Halilović.
He firstly protected his patent, and then in September 2013, founded the company "Kimbly". In March this year, due to the product line expansion, the company was re-registered to “Kimbly” Ltd. with premises in Sarajevo. Together with his father and brother, he also invented a Holder for medical instruments. Holder for drain, catheter, infusion and other containers, consists of several medical instruments serving to the patient to hold and deposit a drain, catheter, infusion and other receptacles, and to walk easily and hands-free.
“At the end of 2013, I had contracts worth four million BAM, in BiH and region. But unfortunately, I failed to find common ground with potential investors, and I was unable to finance production myself. Since that contract, I was able to realize only 10 percent and all that with the manual production. And that was the reason why I had to pause the production of hygiene covers and focused on the production of Holders for medical instruments. Since it requires a smaller initial investment, these products should appear on the market in early July, and then immediately by the middle of August in the countries of the region. In addition to medical patents, we are also working with stone and stone products, and some of them are being exported to the UK, "said Halilović.
After being presented at the Festival of entrepreneurship in the UK, Halilović got an offer to move to Manchester and product for the UK as their brand. They offered him full support, both financial and technical, but he refused as his aim is to develop a domestic brand that will be recognized worldwide.
"Local people do not recognize my potential, as well as the potential of many others like me. However, like it or not, I am walking forward toward my goals," he said. When asked to comment on the current situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina where most of the young people complain that they don’t have a job, and even once they start their own business, they become burdened with various levies and taxes, Halilović said that our education system is still designed for students to "finish the college and find a job" instead of "finish the college and create a job."
"We are creating generations that are not enterprising, instead, from an early age, we learn them to depend on someone or something, and finally those who decide to launch a stand-alone business get discouraged by slow, sluggish and obstinate bureaucracy and all that goes with it. So when a young person, or anyone else who does not want to wait for the bureau to be recruited, but decide to be the one that employs others, fall into the process of registration. At the very beginning of that process, he gets confronted with many difficulties, such as many expenses, long waiting etc. These are all small things that also turn away many foreign investors. And then we are wondering why people work illegally and why are young people leaving the country. Recently, this topic on self-employment, is extremely popular and authorities allocated certain grants for that, which makes me very happy because this really is the way forward", he said.
Education is the basis
Halilović pointed out that education is an important segment of modern man. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Sarajevo. Currently, he is studying International Finance at the American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in the same time, Master degree in Industrial Engineering and Management at Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.
“Education allows me to compare theory and practice and to make my own way that will help me succeed. The other thing that is a highly valuable is networking with other students and professors, with whom I can cooperate in future. Of course, no matter how good financial experts you have in your company, it is always good that the owner himself knows a thing about it, in order to avoid various irregularities that unfortunately exist today", said Halilović.
His plan is to continue working intensively on the production and placement of his products on the European market and to finish school. He has no thoughts on leaving the country.