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EBRD backs women entrepreneurs in Kosovo

By Katarzyna Kukula

EBRD backs women entrepreneurs in Kosovo

EBRD’s Women in Business programme helps Peja’s Restaurant Oda with marketing.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is boosting women’s entrepreneurship in Kosovo by providing finance and business advice to Restaurant Oda, owned by Ilirjana Gafurri .

The support is part of the EBRD Women in Business (WIB) programme aimed at empowering women who lead or own small businesses. The restaurant received a €50,000 loan through the local partner bank TEB to extend its servicing capabilities.

In addition, thanks to donor funding from the government of Luxembourg, the EBRD has arranged for a consultant to help Oda improve its marketing tools.

Energising small and medium-sized enterprises, such as Restaurant Oda, is in line with a wider strategy the EBRD is implementing across its regions:  to strengthen the resilience of domestic economies as well as enhancing competitiveness of the private sector by promoting greater economic and social inclusion.

“Strengthening businesswomen is essential to further develop the economy of our country. I have 11 employees and half of them are women,” said Ms Gafurri.

The business, located in the third largest city in Kosovo, Peja, is in the tourist-friendly Rugova region surrounded by the so-called Albanian Alps, attracting large numbers of hikers and skiers.

To accommodate the needs of diverse clientele, Ms Gafurri invested in re-arranging the space and divided the restaurant into three areas: with table service, casual dining and terrace for drinks and snacks.

With the business growing rapidly, the importance of improving its marketing quickly become apparent.

The EBRD came on board through the Women in Business regional programme in the Western Balkans with technical assistance funded by the governments of Sweden and Luxembourg and helped the company work with a local consultant to develop a number of promotional tools.

Among others, they include a new website with an integrated virtual tool to tour the restaurant online, a redesigned menu and business cards.

Ms Gafurri has already noticed an increase in the number of customers to her restaurant every day.

“Restaurant Oda is a great example of how the EBRD Women in Business programme in Kosovo is bearing fruit - not only do we empower businesswomen directly through our projects, but these women also value the importance of supporting other women, meaning the impact is even greater,” said Elena Petrovska, EBRD Head of Office in Kosovo.

“This reflects the Bank’s focus on enhancing economic and social inclusion.”

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