The American Chamber of Commerce started Global Entrepreneurship Week with a discussion on startup support programs

Prishtina, November 14, 2022 – On the first day of the activities arranged within the Global Entrepreneurship Week, the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo organized a discussion regarding startup support programs with a panel composed of representatives of international financial institutions, civil society and the private sector, which prompted an interactive discussion with young people interested in more information about existing programs.

Officially opening the activities of the American Chamber of Commerce in celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Executive Director of this organization, Arian Zeka, said that due to the importance that the American Chamber commits to the promotion of entrepreneurship, it has been part of these activities that have marked this week for a full decade in Kosovo. These activities have the Innovation Center of Kosovo (ICK) as their national host. He said the five-day activities of the American Chamber will focus on this year’s themes defined by the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), which are ecosystems, education, inclusion and policy.

Dajana Berisha, Executive Director of the Forum for Civic Initiatives (FIQ) spoke about the importance of supporting young people who have business ideas, regardless of whether those initiatives succeed or fail along the way, emphasizing social enterprises in particular. According to her, if the Government supports the entrepreneurship sector, the chances for development are higher, but the bureaucratic procedures that follow these schemes can cause delays in the disbursement of monetary support. At the very end, the leader of FIQ said that the organization she leads has focused on supporting startups that have ideas for digital and green activities, or that are environment-friendly.

Leonora Kusari, from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), spoke about the programs they offer for young entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on the Star Venture program, which, in addition to technical assistance for business development, also offers expertise for expanding into international markets. She said that the assistance offered to entrepreneurs is also related to access to investment funds. Thanks to the coverage of the financial risk that will be done by the EBRD, for the first time a commercial bank, BPB, will start granting loans to startups. Meanwhile earlier, TEB bank, thanks to the support from EBRD, had special lines of financing for enterprises owned by women. In the end, Kusari said that for the realization of a business idea, in addition to the initial interest, it is important for young people to do a detailed market analysis or research.

The owner of the Frutex company, Shaqir Palushi, spoke about the steps that young people should take to create a successful business. He affirmed the important aspects for entrepreneurship, such as time, orientation to market needs, but also ego. He encouraged young aspiring entrepreneurs to consider the advice of others, stressing that after going through these steps they should go to the right addresses for securing funding, including the contest for business ideas “Golden Idea”, which was financially supported by the Golden Eagle Foundation and implemented by ATV television. He clarified that the purpose of this initiative was to support young people who have business ideas but have difficulties in accessing finance for the realization of those ideas.