Prishtina, October 9, 2020 – Startup businesses continue to play a very important role in the country’s economy, therefore the Government must turn its focus on supporting these businesses which create new jobs and facilitate the lives of citizens through innovation. These were said, among other things, during a roundtable talk regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on startup businesses, organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo.
Arianit Fazliu, Chief Executive Officer at Kutia, and also moderator of this roundtable, stated that the pandemic, in addition to emphasizing the need to transform economic activities in order for them to adapt to such situations, has also placed the spotlight to the need for better coordination of funds as well as investment in the industries that strongly affect the economy of Kosovo, thus ensuring its development.
Uranik Begu, Executive Director at the Innovation Center Kosovo (ICK), stressed that startup businesses are a matter of important relevance, as the COVID19 pandemic, along with all its disadvantages has brought opportunities for the establishment of new businesses, while stating that ICK has made all efforts to be available at all times to provide space, mentoring, consulting, or any other relevant support for startups. Begu said that Kosovo as a country has not made much progress in terms of offering institutional support for new businesses, which while allowing people to be creative due to lack of market regulation, also creates barriers to bringing the right results. According to Begu, the Government of Kosovo should determine the country’s direction for economic development by focusing on those sectors which show a positive trend and have a positive impact on the economy, and since all signs show that the ICT sector is growing strong, continuous support must be provided for it. He also stressed that this is the last moment for the Government to turn to startup businesses which will create new jobs in the near future, as well as provide products and services that will improve the lives and well-being of citizens.
Jolta Kacani, Consulting Manager at Deloitte, spoke about the PowerUp initiative, which is a program created with the aim to build the capacities of businesses in their early stages, in the Western Balkans. She stated that through training sessions and consulting services for the creation of a proper business strategy, as well as offering assistance in the transformation of operations, this project aims to prepare businesses to penetrate the local and international market, while another focus point is helping businesses achieve independence from investors. Kacani also stressed that in addition to the ICT sector, special attention should be paid to enterprises in sectors such as services, food, and also the artisanal sector which have a positive impact on the economy.
Faton Sopa, CEO at Manaferra stated that a major challenge for startup businesses has been the shift in investor interests, who, driven by the uncertainty created in the global economy, are now targeting the markets of developed countries and companies that guarantee quick output of low risk investments. Sopa said that among the most severe consequences of the pandemic was the need to restructure business modules in order to adapt to the growing demand for electronic services, especially in the platforms to which the educational process has turned to. Finally, he added that young entrepreneurs need to create a long-term vision, while emphasizing that changes in market needs, create the need to restructure business activity strategies.