Resilience Amidst Adversity: Stories of Triumph from Kosovo’s Women Entrepreneurs in the Face of Pandemic Challenges

In the spotlight: Some enterprising women entrepreneurs from Kosovo

#WomenEntrepreneurs #KosovoBusiness #PandemicResilience

Looking at the unprecedented challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, the entrepreneurial landscape underwent seismic shifts, with the impact varying across sectors and business ownership structures. Notably, in Kosovo, where women entrepreneurs were already under-represented, the pandemic’s effects were quite pronounced. Women-led businesses faced a unique set of challenges, which operated predominantly smaller businesses in sectors hardest hit by the crisis.

From a decline in customer purchases to the imperative need for business remodeling and existential threats, many entrepreneurs navigated uncharted waters with determination and innovation.

#WomenLeaders #KosovoResilience #EntrepreneurialTriumph

Responding to the distinct challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, Kosovo institutions implemented policy measures, including the Emergency Fiscal Package and the Economic Recovery Program. These initiatives were aimed at fostering social well-being, extending business support and supervising grants. Amidst adversity, the storiesof these women entrepreneurs serve as beacons of inspiration, illustrating resilience,adaptability & a commitment to surmounting challenges on the path to business success.

Here are some enterprising women entrepreneurs from Kosovo.

> Shqiponja Berisha, Owner, SOfër N’Shesh

An accountant for almost two decades, Shqiponja Berisha knew her number straight. She was always at a loss about what food to have each day. She used to miss her mom’s delicious and healthy cooking and she soon spotted both a solution and a business opportunity – what could be better than a restaurant? She got We-Fi incentivized loans from TEB Sh.A., one of Kosovo’s largest banks and started her food business.

Today, while Berisha’s restaurant SOfër N’Shesh, initially a modest delivery service, now offers a chic dine-in option too.

> Sadete Ademi, entrepreneur

Sadete Ademi was an entrepreneur in her late 40s, and she struggled to find motivation after launching her small business in manufacturing other textiles in January 2022 – which involved producing non-clothing products from textiles, such as carpets and rugs, rope, trimmings, and others. 

She received We-Fi incentivized loans from TEB Sh.A., one of Kosovo’s largest banks (and the only one to offer tailored financing to women-owned small and medium businesses in the country) and saw that she was able to cater to every whim of her growing clientele, and specifically to suit their individual style, color, flair and so on. And her business grew.

> Borebardha Mazreku, Co-Founer, Bardha’s Cake

Bardha’s Cake is social enterprise co-founded by Borebardha Mazreku and her brother. Bardha’s Cake is a pastry shop that aims to levitate women living in rural areas from poverty, by training them how to bake sweets and then providing them jobs at Bardha’s Cake. Moreover, Bardha’s Cake is the first cake shop to hire women waitresses in Malisheve.

> Arta Shehu Zaimi & Fiona Shehu, Co-Founders, Labbox

The Founders of Labbox are sisters Arta Shehu Zaimi and Fiona Shehu, and Glenn Noble. Labbox is a company that combines toys production with education and electronics, and was launched in 2019 by Arta Shehu Zaimi (CEO) and Fiona Shehu (COO) – two sisters passionate about technology, and Glenn Noble, a CTO with 30 years of experience in hardware design and production. The two sisters had founded in 2015 jCoders Academy, the largest private coding school in Kosovo, with over 45 Employees and scaled the company also in Albania.

The founders of Labbox have created the largest private coding school in Kosovo. Labbox produces electronic blocks through which children between 8-15 years old can learn programming, mathematics, engineering, electronics, and mechanics at home based on a monthly subscription.

> Mirlinda Kusari-Purrini, Founder & Executive Director, SHE-ERA

Mirlinda Kusari Purrini, Founder & Executive Director of SHE-ERA in Kosovo (a post she has held since September, 1999). She is an economist by occupation with a degree in Economics and Finance from the University of Pristina. She is active in both business and humanitarian circles, with experience also in international research and projects.

Having created a distinguished reputation for its services, and SHE-ERA offers a range – like consultations, business planning, document collection for proposals, marketing strategies and market research, services on human resources and operating management for the businesses of women entrepreneurs in Kosovo. SHE-ERA operates by providing offer management services – to global companies that aspire to operate in Kosovo.

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