Social entrepreneurship in Kosovo is still at an early stage, with few networks or support platforms, and no clear legal definition of a social enterprise. Meanwhile women in Kosovo make up only 10% of all business owners, mostly running micro or small businesses, according to a study by RI Invest Institute; women are also less likely to start a business than men.
This situation prompted Euclid Network’s recent workshop on women’s entrepreneurship and social business models in Pristina – our first ever project in Kosovo. The two-day workshop was held on 20-21 February, and provided entrepreneurship training for 20 women of all ages, from both urban and rural backgrounds.
Funded by Charities Aid Foundation, the project was implemented by Euclid Network with our local partner, Forumi Për Iniciativa Qytetare (Forum for Civic Initiatives).
The aim was to provide aspiring and current female entrepreneurs in Kosovo with the tools and methods to develop or scale up a social venture. But bringing the women together to learn as a group had another important objective: to connect social entrepreneurs with each other, helping lay the groundwork for a future network of peers.
The two-day training was delivered by Bistra Kumbaroska, cofounder of the Social Impact Lab Skopje and Scaling and Partnership Manager at Social Impact Award in Vienna, and by Shkelzen Merku from Yunus Social Business. The training covered the following:
- Introduction to social enterprise – and why it’s different to traditional business
- Examples of social businesses and different business models around Europe and in the Western Balkans
- Idea generation: individual and groupwork to develop and evaluate concrete ideas
- Tools and processes to test and question ideas
- Business model canvas: turning ideas into business models and understanding revenue models in social entrepreneurship
- Refining the customer focus
- Mini pitch to the group
Feedback from the participants highlighted the “Idea Factory” process as one of the most valuable aspects, as well as learning how to think more rigorously about their customers before implement business ideas. In the post-training survey, 90% of participants rated the overall value of the sessions as excellent.
One aspiring entrepreneur commented: “This not only helps to think in more practical terms about becoming financially independent and empowered through our own businesses, it is also increasing our self-esteem and self-confidence that we truly can do it.”