Chargé d’Affaires, Nicholas J. Giacobbe, Jr. Remarks at the Global Entrepreneurship Week Opening Ceremony, November 8, 2021
Thank you for the introduction, and thank you to Innovation Center Kosovo and the American Chamber of Commerce for the opportunity to speak with this inspiring group of innovators during Global Entrepreneurship Week. It is a pleasure to be here with you, and I’m proud to represent the United States as one of the many co-sponsors today.
Global Entrepreneurship Week has always been one of my favorite events, because it highlights the best of what Kosovans have to offer. With your ideas, innovation, and global perspective, you are building the companies of the future that will drive progress and enhance the economy of Kosovo and the region. Your impact ripples through the economy in the form of increasing employment, creating a more transparent business environment, and ensuring more resilient markets.
The Embassy recognizes the impact that all Kosovans can have using entrepreneurial mindsets. Through USAID, we facilitate opportunities for youth engagement with the private sector and to acquire the skills local employers need. With our local partners we’re working toward scalable and systemic change that increases the private sector’s ability to engage with local, regional, and international markets.
For example, our work with the wood processing sector contributed to Kosovo’s exports more than doubling in 2020 as compared to 2019. This is a significant demonstration of Kosovo’s potential for economic transformation and is only one example of a project managed by USAID. We also have exciting projects managed by Public Diplomacy, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and other sections of our Embassy.
With much of the world’s attention turned to Glasgow for the ongoing COP-26 conference, we are reminded that businesses can exist for both purpose and for profit. We are facing a climate crisis, and the private sector has an important role to play in mitigation and adaptation.
Green entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship are rapidly growing sectors that will gain momentum as governments and investors adopt ambitious climate goals. Kosovo’s tech-savvy population is well-placed to develop innovations in emissions reduction, energy efficiency, and natural resource management. And regardless of what sector you’re in, it is critical that you incorporate environmental sustainability into your business models and supply chains. It’s not just a good way to do business, it’s the right way to do business.
At the U.S. Embassy we’re doing our part to reduce the environmental footprint of our own operations through our Green Team, as well as focusing much of our technical assistance on energy security, diversification, and efficiency. We are also proud of the green technology built into our new embassy campus, which allows us to minimize consumption.
In the United States we know that diversity is a strength. We also know that we must intentionally create inclusive and equitable environments where diversity can flourish. As you create and expand your ventures, commit yourselves to building diverse and inclusive workspaces that consider all Kosovans. As we build back from the pandemic, we need to implement new business models that better reflect the rich backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences of our communities. Again, it’s not just a good way to do business, it’s the right way to do business, and in the end, it’s the profitable way to do business.
Lastly, Global Entrepreneurship Week events can be a forum for the private sector to support the entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem in Kosovo.
I encourage each of you to use these events to identify and adopt solutions to the problems you see.
And, this week and beyond, I encourage each of you to engage policymakers to advocate for the reforms you need in order to succeed.
The future of Kosovo is in the hands of innovators like you. We are all here to encourage you and help in whatever ways we can, not just this week but 52 weeks of the year!
Thank you again for the opportunity to speak and meet with such an impressive and creative group!