Ambassador Delawie’s remarks at the Launch of Trekandi Company, September 26, 2017
Good evening and welcome. I’m so pleased to be a part of tonight’s festivities and to help introduce Trekandi as a valuable new member of Kosovo’s growing digital economy.
It was only seven months ago in Gjirafa’s offices not far from here that we celebrated the launch of the Gjirafa Lab, and placed our faith in an innovative new endeavor to identify and incubate promising young tech companies in Kosovo.
I noted at the time that Mergim and his team were part of a virtuous cycle in Kosovo – creating jobs and driving growth and investing in other young companies to do the same. This evening we see the first return on that promising investment.
I’ve spoken many times about how exciting it is to meet with entrepreneurs in Kosovo, and to see the energy and talent that are pouring into so many sectors of Kosovo’s economy. And every time I have that opportunity, it renews my conviction that we’re on the right track here. It energizes me as we face the challenges ahead – and that entrepreneurial energy is what tonight is about.
Trekandi and its founder and employees now join the company of so many others who are adding value to Kosovo’s economy and providing new services to consumers, looking for new approaches to growing the economy. And that’s really what entrepreneurship is – seeing an opportunity before it becomes obvious, and having the vision and sheer audacity to do something about it.
I understand that one of the services Trekandi will provide is to help consumers gain online access to financial services such as loans on transparent terms, and to help banks identify prospective clients. This does so much for Kosovo’s consumers and economy – by facilitating access to financing and credit, by promoting transparency, and by introducing competitiveness into the process so that consumers can choose the terms that are best for them.
Transparency, competitiveness, and access to financing – these are three indispensable elements to any thriving economy, and all exemplified by the services of this one young company.
In fact, the Gjirafa Lab’s selection process itself was both highly transparent and highly competitive – fostering not just new tech companies but the notion that true merit – and not well-placed connections – can be the key to success in Kosovo.
Too often as I travel around Kosovo I’m told that young people worry that good jobs and opportunities are well out of reach for them, locked away by entrenched power networks and saved for a privileged few.
There’s no one simple answer to unlocking these opportunities, but every time excellence wins the day, we create a little pocket of hope for young people across Kosovo nurturing a new idea or a dream of what they might contribute one day in this beautiful country.
There’s another special aspect to this company as well. We sometimes lament that many of Kosovo’s best and brightest leave home for opportunities abroad. But Jetmir, you’re a wonderful example of the opposite phenomenon – young, talented Kosovars coming home to dedicate their intellect and drive to their country’s future. It’s great to have you back.
Before I go tonight, I want to share with you a piece of an interview that Steve Jobs gave more than 20 years ago at a low point in his career, before his triumphant return to Apple, and before the invention of so many products that we never envisioned and that we now can’t live without. He was asked if he still had as much faith in technology’s ability to empower people as he did when he first started out.
And he replied, that “It’s not a faith in technology. It’s faith in people.” He said it was important to have faith that people “are basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.”
And so tonight I thank Gjirafa for providing the tools that will empower new, wonderful things all across Kosovo. And to Jetmir we say welcome home and well done. We’re proud of you and we have every faith in you and your team’s success.
Congratulations, and enjoy this great evening of celebration.