A blacksmith, dental technician or specialist in car upholstery — what is your business idea? This question was addressed to Kosovan people by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in spring 2015 and 2016. Over 90 people who succeeded in the business idea competition were awarded a start-up grant and training on financial administration, accounting and the formulation of a business idea for the period of two years. Those who were granted assistance included self-employed persons and entrepreneurs, from honey producers and manufacturers of safety rails to packers of food products. One of them was Ajnur Arifi, who is a blacksmith.
Ideas are needed: The UN estimates that one out of three Kosovan people are unemployed and that unemployment among 15–25-year-olds has already climbed to 60 per cent. Finland has supported the employment programme in Kosovo that has been implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare of Kosovo and the UNDP. Over 12,000 people have benefited from the Programme during the last 10 years. About one third of new entrepreneurs are women and about one fifth of them come from Serbian-speaking minorities or Roma minorities, for example. According to an estimate by the UNDP, as many as half of those who received financial assistance and training during the first few years of the Programme were employed in the same place still after three years.
Photo: Anne Huhtamäki, graphics: Juho Hiilivirta