On September 9, 2016 eight emerging young Kosovo entrepreneur stars pitched their business ideas to policy makers, angel investors, financial sector representatives and successful entrepreneurs during a high-level pitching event hosted by the Kosovo Investment and Enterprise Support Agency (KIESA). At the event, Mrina Godanca from “Architecture for Humans”, won the “Ye! Young Entrepreneur of the Year” Prize. The 2nd place goes to Mendim Avdyli (Sumthesun) and 3rd place to Lum Kryeziu (Spartments). The two entrepreneurs received interest-free loans provided by TEB Bank to further develop their business ideas.
Bringing awareness to the young rising stars of entrepreneurship
The pitching event is a feature event which marks the closing of the week-long Ye! BoostCamp in Kosovo, an entrepreneurship training event for 17 young entrepreneurs from Kosovo. Held at the Innovations Centre Kosovo the event was attended by key stakeholders in the entrepreneurship ecosystem– policy makers, international development organizations, angel investors and successful entrepreneurs. The event provided a platform for the young entrepreneur participants to showcase their business ideas, receive feedback and seek seed capital.
Mr. Besian Mustafa, General Director of KIESA, opened the final pitching event with a welcome speech on behalf of the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Kosovo. Ms. Venera Hoxha, Senior Investment Officer from Finance in Motion, also shared a message to the participants and guests on behalf of the European Fund for Southeast Europe, the funder of the Ye! Boost Programs. Ms. Hoxha expressed that the European Fund for Southeast Europe Development Facility will continue to expand its support of youth employment and entrepreneurship in the EFSE countries and the development of quality financial support via the financial sectors.
Eight young entrepreneurs selected from the youth participants of the BoostCamp pitched their ideas at the event. These vibrant youths are all working on ideas addressing critical issues faced by their community. Among them are Besart Kunushevci (Platforma Akademia), Armend Alshiqi (Dekorime nga Dora Ime), Lum Kryeziu (Spartments), Trëndelinë Gërguri (Login Texas), Mendim Avdyli (Sumthesun), Vesa Broqi (Gjurmet), Mrina Godanca (Architecture for Humans), Drilon Balaj. Their ideas were evaluated and challenged by a panel of jury members that are represented by policy makers, angel investors, financiers and successful entrepreneurs: Mr. Besian Mustafa (General Director, KIESA), Leutrim Blakaj (Executive Chairman & Founder, Highlight Ventures), Besian Demiri (Manager of Small Business Department, TEB Bank) and Dardan Gërguri (Banka për Biznes).
The jury selected Mrina Godanca from “Architecture for Humans”, a startup that makes custom-designed furniture for people with disabilities, to receive the “Ye! Young Entrepreneur of the Year” Prize awarded by KIESA and the Ye! Community. Mrina also received a cash prize of 1,500 Euro sponsored by TEB Bank. Mendim Avdyli, the entrepreneur behind Sumthesun – a startup with the ambition to help US households adopt solar energy received the 2nd place and the “Best Pitch” award. He received an interest-free loans of 5,000 Euro from TEB Bank and a cash reward from Banka për Biznes. The entrepreneur of a student housing online platform, Lum Kryeziu won the 3rd place and an interest-free loan of 3,000 Euro from TEB Bank.
All participants will receive six-month mentoring provided by experienced professionals both from Kosovo and Ye!’s international network.
About Ye! Boost Program
The Ye! Boost Program is an entrepreneurship capacity building program targeting early-stage young entrepreneurs. The program provides training, networking and coaching opportunities for entrepreneurs (16~30 years old). In 2016, the Ye! Boost Programs are implemented in Turkey, Kosovo and Ukraine, with the sponsorship and support of the European Fund for Southeast Europe. In Kosovo, the Boost Program is partnered with Innovation Centre Kosovo (ICK), Kosovo Investment and Enterprise Support Agency (KIESA), TEB Bank and Banka për Biznes (BPB).