Women’s Entrepreneurship Day – WED in Kosovo

“Entrepreneurship is a generator of economic and social development, hence, without any hesitation I can say that a society which supports the entrepreneurial spirit in its midst, is a visionary society which blazed for itself and its citizens, a more prosperous future. “

These are one of the first words of the head of state Mrs. Atifete Jahjaga that marked the beginning of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day – WED in Kosovo.

WED is one global day within the Global Entrepreneurship Week dedicated to empower, celebrate and support women in business and build a strong network for change worldwide.

We will try to give you a glimpse of WED in Kosovo. The ambassador of Kosovo for the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, Ms. Mirlinda Kusari Purrini, officially opened the event. To be followed by the ICK executive director, Mr. Uranik Begu, who were also the hosts of the occasion. The inspiring opening was concluded by Kosovo’s President, Ms. Atifete Jahjaga, speech.

The second part of the day continued with an excellent debate, moderated by Xheraldina Vula, co-founder and deputy director of the national radio-television RTV21 in Kosovo. Present in the first discussion were the ambassador of the Netherlands to Kosovo, Mr. Robert Bosch, the ambassador of Norway to Kosovo, Mr. Jan Braathu, the first female mayor in Kosovo – Mayor of Gjakova, Ms. Mimoza Kusari-Lila, and UN WOMEN in Kosovo representative, Ms. Flora Macula.

Followed by another interesting bits of conversations with Ms. Argjentina Grazhdani, manager of Enhancing Youth Employment, Ms. Leonora Kusari, National Programme Manager at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development – EBRD, as well as, Dr. Deputy General Manager at the TEB Bank in Kosovo.

During the conversations the importance of entrepreneurship for the development of a society was emphasized, as well as, different ways how to empower women entrepreneurs.

Prior to continuing with the second part, the young founders of the first digital boutique in Kosovo BalkanSpring.com shared their success story. And by the way, in case you want to by Kosovar designer fashion, the link here shows you how easy it is.

The final part of the day continued with another brilliant debate, moderated by Luljeta Vuniqi, executive director of Kosovar Gender Studies Center. The panel this time consisted of Mr. Shkumbin Asllani, Project Coordinator at GIZ, Prof. Dr. Justina Shiroka Pula, Economics Professor at the University of Prishtina, Ms. Flutur Xhabija, Founder and President of Professional Women in Albania & Owner of the company “Fultura & Sons”, Ms. Vidinka Markovic, Owner of Lucky Farm, Ms. Afërdita Saraçini-Kelmendi, Founder and Executive Director of the national radio-television RTV21, as well as, Ms. Rita Aliti, young entrepreneur, owner of company “Inventa”.

This part of the day focused on success stories, and the challenges businesswomen face along their road building a sustainable business, and more importantly the drive that keeps them going. Another interesting element was the discussion on the importance of registering properties as joint by the husband and wife. Aspiring entrepreneurs, especially women, were encouraged to register their properties as joint, as it is one of the key elements when wanting to request loans to make their ideas happen.

To conclude this fruitful day, and move from talking to doing, the networking lunch provided excellent opportunities to create linking and supporting bridges.

Some remarkable quotes of the day:

“We need everyone in our society to contribute to the economy, otherwise we will not succeed” – Norwegian Ambassador Braathu

“We want to stimulate, facilitate and increase the trade and business cooperation between the companies and institutions from the Netherlands and their counterparts from Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo. Please look for opportunities in the Dutch Balkan Business web site” – Dutch Ambassador Bosch

“We must turn the attention towards individuals and innovation. We must regain the trust that every entrepreneur can be his or her own employer, as well as the employment generator of the others. Let’s change the concept “When will there come a factory so that we can have a job” to the concept “We are the ones who create the jobs in our community and society… We are incentivize exactly that, starting with the first Makers Space in Kosovo” – Mayor of Gjakova, Ms. Kusari-Lila

“Success depends on the time and space in which you act. You have to adapt and know how to react in the right moment. And never ever fear anything… You have to look to a problem ‘directly in the eye’ and confront it” – Founder and Executive Director of national radio-television RTV21, Ms. Saraçini-Kelmendi

“I love and respect my husband, but when we got expelled from our jobs, he didn’t have the ability to adapt in the new situation. Using a little money we had, talent and a lot of work and commitment, by starting a small business, I took the financial lead to take care of our family” – Professor of Economics, former Minister of Energy, Entrepreneur, Ms. Shiroka-Pula

For those of you who would like to hear the interesting wide range of discussions held in the Swiss Diamond Hotel yesterday (the 19th of November), the event was live-streamed from Gjirafa.com, and the all the activities can be watched online by clicking here.