In the beautiful ambiance of a hotel in the center of Pristina, dozens of business leaders, NGO's, politicians and ambassadors came together to kick off the Global Entrepreneurship Week of Kosovo. The Innovation Centre Kosovo (ICK) organizes the Week. Their executive director, Uranik Begu, welcomed all the participants in a short opening speech.
U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo Greg Delawie said in his keynote speech that this week comes "in a great time of Kosovo, since we are still celebrating the results of the World Bank. Kosovo ranks in the top 15 of the world in starting a business." The ambassador talked about the need of keeping developing the environment for businesses and new businesses. "Entrepreneurship is a way of expressing optimism. So keep asking yourself: what can I do? What kind of country do I want to build?"
Education system and labor market
One of the main topics of the GEW kickoff is 'entrepreneurship and education.’ Minister for Education, Arsim Bajrami, ensures that the government is "working on transforming the education system to connect better with the labor market." RIT Kosovo president Sharon Y. Hart, who works only half a year in the country, says that she is happy to see how Kosovo is improving.
MDA Director Driton Dalipi thinks that "if we have a stronger decision making from the government on which sector we should focus in the next coming twenty years, this will affect a lot of decisions. But also the other way around: the private sector can be more clear what their needs are. Some industries shared their short term and long term needs.” Driton Hapçiu, who started the Cacttus Education to train specifically youngsters in the IT-sector, agrees with that.
Financial sector is healthy, but…
The other main topic is ‘access to finance’ for businesses and entrepreneurs. Besian Mustafa (KIESA), Elena Petrovska of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Edward Nolan of the Kosovo Credit Guarantee Fund, and Rron Cena (CEO of a successful startup in Kosovo; Formon) share their visions. All of them agree that Kosovo is improving, and that the financial sector is very healthy, but that it has a long way to improve. “This takes an effort of all the stake holders,” according to Petrovska of EBRD.
Cena knows very well what the challenges are when starting a company (which is part of the ICK incubatorship). He told the panelist and visitors about his journey from being a beginning startup till now: being a pretty successful young company.
This was just the kickoff. Find information about the Global Entrepreneurship Week and all the activities at kv.gew.co.