Innovative Business Ideas Receive Grants

Oct 2, 2015

“My idea is to offer freezing systems for industrial vehicles. In addition we will help build and improvise transportation vehicles that lack these systems”, Marigona Shala, young founder of a start-up in Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje, elaborates on her business idea. For Marigona, who is certified in production and repair of freezing store-rooms, there is nothing unconventional or hard to implement about her business plan. All she needed was support to kick-start her business, which will solve problems of many local producers, who saw their agricultural products rot, in absence of freezing systems, which would enable to keep their products fresh and ready for sale and export. 
She is one of the 43 unemployed men and women who have been awarded grants to establish their new businesses in six business sectors such as IT, wood processing industry, tourism, metal processing industry, food production and packaging and textile, as part of the project jointly funded and implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MLSW), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.
Self-Employment Programme was launched during April this year, to expand the active labour market programmes, implemented by Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, with the support of UNDP. The main objective of the Programme is to provide opportunities to registered unemployed to start a business activity. In this case, self-employment is applied as an active labour market measure for starting a business activity or an opportunity in becoming self-employed. It includes training/advising, financial support and consultancy services to the unemployed with qualifications and other skills so they can succeed in their business. 
“I saw a great number of unique business ideas which bring innovation to the markets. What is even more important each of the beneficiaries of the Programme will not only create employment opportunities for themselves but will also create two to three new jobs. This way they will contribute to their individual development and at the same time to the development of the society”, said Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Arban Abrashi. According to Minister Abrashi, the synergy, such as that witnessed in cooperation with UNDP, is essential to enable public services to help in creation of new business and employment opportunities. 
The UN Development Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Kosovo, Andrew Russell, explains that Self Employment Programme, is one of the employment schemes launched with the vision of nurturing the hopes of young people to stay in Kosovo. “Sustainable development is at the center of the UNDP global goals.  If you have jobs they are the engine for everything else: health, education, welfare”, said Russell. 
Self-Employment Programme was launched to help achieve the overarching goal of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and UNDP, to utilize active labour market policies which stimulate private sector development and job creation. 
The ALMP would not have been possible without the generous contribution by the Embassy of Finland. Finnish Ambassador Anne Huhtamӓki was also present at the event.
“Our goal is to support economic growth and improve the employability in Kosovo, especially focusing on those job-seekers who face difficulties in finding a job, such as women, people with disabilities and minorities. It has been particularly rewarding to meet and to talk to people who get a new opportunity to work through this Programme, generating opportunities for themselves, their families and community” said Ambassador Huhtamӓki. 
Several active measures are currently being implemented by Kosovo institutions and UNDP. These include wage subsidy and on the job training schemes allowing the unemployed to enhance their work skills and experience.  Self-Employment Programme is one of the latest active labour market measures, pioneered by UNDP and MLSW. Launched in 15 Kosovo municipalities it will support the grantees with financial assistance of 3,000 – 6,000 euros and continuous mentorship to operationalize their business and make their products and services ready for the market. 

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