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Impactful Ideas Emerge from Kosovo's Change Makers Programme

· social enterprise,youth start ups,Sustainability

We’ve just returned from our unforgettable week-long trip to Kosovo, where we delivered start-up workshops aimed to develop impactful ideas at #KosovosChangeMakers 2016, an event for Kosovo’s young social and environmental activists who aspire to be Kosovo’s first generation of social entrepreneurs.

It’s been 18 years since the horrific war in Kosovo which saw thousands of people brutally killed, and the sense of survival is still vibrant from the many stories of passed down through the generations. The Kosovo war was the last of three wars that erupted as a result of the breakdown of Yugoslavia and it was the last European conflict of the 20th Century. Many of the young people we were training couldn’t remember the war, but their parents, older siblings and extended families were directly affected by it.

_SocialStarters delivered a one day crash course in starting up a social enterprise as part of this 3-Day Conference on Sustainability, Leadership & Social Enterprise delivered in collaboration with the UK’s Migrant Entrepreneurs Network founded by Indira Kartallozi & sustainability specialist, writer/author and Cambridge University Professor Wayne Visser. You can check out his latest book HERE. We were all invited to join the team behindInto the Park, a music festival thrown in the beautiful mountain city of Peja.

Our mission, as part of #KosovosChangeMakers 2016 was to train up 25 young people, aged 19-25, to become the next generation of Kosovo’s leaders in sustainability & social enterprise. And this was the first time anything of this nature had been delivered in Kosovo, so not only was this an incredible honour but super exciting – so much so that TV station Dukagjini reported live from the event!

Our ‘Social Enteprise’ Day, was designed to get them looking at the “HOW” of creating impact, going through an ideation process that adopts lean start up methods.

Of the ideas generated, were Kosovo’s first ever solutions around waste recycling, a t-shirt brand which evolved into “Punk Dog” to tackle the growing issues arising out of the problem of stray dogs, as well as “Alarm” an environment solution that aggregates solar energy companies and grows consumer penetration throughout Kosovo with a micro-lending aspect for the poor – plus a social enterprise aiming to empower and employ people with disabilities through skills development around handicrafts.

The groups are working on their pitches for the final day’s “Shark Tank” style pitch session.

Our trip was rounded off with some adventures in the incredible Kosovan terrain, including Ziplining, hiking and swimming in a secret lake at the top of a mountain.

A huge thanks goes out to the Swiss Embassy and all the other sponsors for their support to make this happen. But our biggest thanks must go to Indira & Wayne who invited us to join them. We look forward to collaborating with you again.

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