At the entrance of the Palace of Youth and Sports in Prishtina, there is a shelf full of jewelry on the right. One can buy bracelets, earrings and several kinds of rings. Egzona Krasniqi, a 24-year-old woman, is one of dozens of young Kosovars who converted her passion into a business. She started making jewelry many years ago at her home. In 2015,she started her business, named “Egzona Krasniqi Handmade,” and has managed to expand it.
Apart from this stand, she opened another one at “Albi Mall” Trading Center, where she was able to employ seven people. During the summer, this number goes up to twelve.
Egzona told us she had great difficulties in opening her first shop. Even though she tried to get a donation, at the end, she got support only from her family.
“Today I pay taxes regularly. I didn`t receive even the smallest help to open my new business, but I hope that in the future we will receive some help,” she said.
Of course, Egzona is not the only one who did not receive local or international support to start a business. But, what makes her different from the others is that she did not give up on realizing her lifetime dream.
The married couple Isahi Mustafa and Loreta Ukshini started their business six years ago:
“We could not find bags that we liked, thus we came up with the idea of creating one of our own. We made that bag with the help of some seamstresses that were members of our family and we liked our first product. We received positive comments from our friends and relatives. Thus we came up with the idea of creating our brand,” says this couple from Prishtina.
Isahu told KosovaLive that the first two years were just a test and they did not display their products at any shop or online. Later they were able to start their business named “I`m Lu.”
“There are difficulties in finding people who are able to do this kind of job, and also finding raw material,” he says.
The only support they received is a donation for marketing, including branding, the logo and the web-page Imlubags.com.
They also applied to many organizations hoping that they would receive financial support, but they did not receive any. They say they had to buy the store’s cash register, which cost 600 euro and, “was too expensive for a business that had just started developing.”
“With that money we could have bought a sewing machine which would have made our beginning easier,” Leonora says.
Another interesting example of someone starting a business is that of Endrit Jashanica, a sophomore at AAB University. He also crafts jewelry and several bags and sells it through social media and a web page he named “Uni Kraft” (Uni Craft).
“At the beginning it was just an idea to make presents for my friends, but there was an increased interest for unique products. That is why I started this business,” Jashanica says.
He is constantly thinking how he can expand this business. He hopes one day he will be able to open a shop. He is sure he will not give up on this business, even though he did not register it yet.
According to him, there is enough interest for these products, the price is not high, but one should bear in mind that they are handmade and unique, thus they are more expensive than the usual products.
Like everywhere in the world, in Kosovo there are several “second hand” shops where different kinds of clothes and shoes are sold, some worn and some not. There one can find clothes from all the Europe and from other continents as well. How these products enter Kosovo is a secret of every owner of a shop of this kind.
“Mozaik” shop, which started working in 2012, functions within the NGO “Lord`s People Church.” There are 15 employees and there are four shops of this kind in Kosovo: two in Prishtina, one in Malisheva and one in Vushtrri. All the employees have work contracts and this business pays taxes regularly.
The manager, Leonora Maloku, says that the volunteer work of the youngsters at this center plays an important role. Their job is to distribute the aids – clothes and shoes – from Switzerland, Germany and Sweden.
Different from other businesses, “Mozaik” gives all its income for charity. Every month they help around 400 families by giving them clothes, food and medicine.
“All the income is earned by these four shops,” Maloku says.
There are no statistics for the number of similar businesses in Kosovo, especially not for the businesses who sell their products through social networks. But one thing is certain, youth, often due to lack of employment after finishing school, try to earn their living by their ideas and their small capital.
According to 2016 statistics by the Kosovo Agency of Statistics, the rate of unemployment is 27.5%. Unemployment rate among women is higher (31.8% of the overall number of women) compared to men (26.2%). Unemployment is most evident among the age group 15-24 (52.4%).