New Entrepreneurs Networking to Build Connections and Expand Their BusinessesApr 19, 2016
Mirjeta Hoxha and Shemsije Mala are successful small business leaders who launched their start-ups in the textile sector with the help of the Self-Employment Programme in 2015. Today, they are networking as they expand their businesses, providing each other with products and services.
“I make embroidery for Mirjeta; she prepares clothes designs for me”, explains Shemsije, a seamstress herself. Even though working in the same sector, they specialize in different products. Naturally, this form of mutual cooperation is very beneficial to the both of them.
The mentoring the new entrepreneurs receive under the Self-Employment Programme (SEP) offers guidance on how to expand their start-ups, using various tools available. One of these is networking, long acclaimed as one of the most appreciated and most important asset of an enterprise in the world of business.
“I started networking in 2007, three years before launching my current business”, said Gëzim Begolli, a successful local entrepreneur who introduced the start-up owners to the benefits and uses of business-to-business interaction to find suppliers, distributors, affiliates, and more.
Be it for generating referrals and new business, creating opportunities to get professional advice, or just as an excellent source for marketing goods and services, the beneficiaries of SEP 2015 were able to build their contacts and form potential partnerships with each other or other companies invited at the networking event.
Flakë Hajdini, a producer of face masks with ear loops and hairnets appreciated the good opportunity to make new contacts. Meeting with Florim Avdyli who works in metal processing industry, she elaborates: “In the future, Florim can buy my masks. Now, I also seek other potential business connections. Networking is a very beneficial tool, you never know where you can find a new partner.”
Bardhyl Halimi, a software developer, talked to other companies which were interested to outsource software development. “For a large company, my work focus is a small business segment which they cannot specialize on, so they are interested to outsource this part of process to a company such as mine”, concludes Bardhyl.
The Self Employment Programme of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare in cooperation with UNDP and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland was pioneered in 2015 with the aim of tackling unemployment in Kosovo by supporting unemployed who have a skill and will to develop their own enterprises with a start-up grant and mentorship services.
Following the successful completion of the first phase of the Programme which created 43 new start-ups in the regions of Prishtinë/Priština, Gjilan/Gnjilane, and Prizren, the Programme was extended this year to the region of Mitrovicë/Mitrovica. Currently, candidates with the best business ideas have started an intensive business development training which will prepare them to turn their initial ideas into full scale marketable business plans.