Global Entrepreneurship Week in Kosovo

Chargé d’Affaires Colleen Hyland’s Remarks at the Global Entrepreneurship Week in Kosovo Kick-Off event, November 12, 2018

Good morning. It’s a pleasure to be here today to participate in the launch of Global Entrepreneurship Week in Kosovo.  I want to thank Speaker Veseli and all the implementing partners for creating a great line-up this week.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is recognized in 170 countries around the globe and it is a worldwide opportunity to focus on the role entrepreneurship plays in our lives and the valuable services it provides. At its core, entrepreneurship is about people and companies proactively filling gaps in the marketplace and creating new employment opportunities – which of course is a major contributor to economic growth.

Entrepreneurship is also about courage. It takes a lot of courage and quite a bit of luck to turn an idea into a successful business that can help the economy.  Kosovo is lucky to have a significant number of these courageous folks.  I’ve been fortunate to meet many of them.

These entrepreneurs are helping to address a serious issue in Kosovo. Unfortunately, unemployment in this country is estimated to exceed 60 percent.  As more entrepreneurs start businesses, they have a multiplier effect on the Kosovo economy, generating new opportunities for young people that will keep them working and contributing here in Kosovo.

Although Kosovo has excellent success stories to choose from, one in particular I would like to mention is that of Hana Qerimi—I think she might be here today. And I single out Hana, in part, because she is also representative of female entrepreneurs, which is one of this week’s central themes, and I’m really excited to see so many women in the audience today.

Hana created Digital School. Her institution helped fill a skills need in the market place and created 40 new jobs.  The business has been so successful that she is now franchising her Digital School internationally.  Unfortunately, in Kosovo, as in other countries around the world, women are more likely than men to be unemployed and are only half as likely as men to start a new business, which makes Hana achievement all the more remarkable. Through her business venture, Hana has challenged traditional ideas about who can code, and has shown that in fact, it is an area where girls and women excel.

Knowing all this, we believe it is important for policy makers in Kosovo to pay particular attention to supporting women entrepreneurs. For that reason I am very pleased to be a part of this event, organized and attended by so many Kosovo government representatives.  I see your involvement as a sign that you are paying attention, and you recognize the value of entrepreneurs.

I wish you all a successful Global Entrepreneurship Week and would like to again thank all of the implementing partners.  Thank you.