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Abstract: Breaking business barriers across the Balkans

ETF entrepreneurship expert group member, Mirlinda Kusari, talks about the business challenges and prospects faced by women in her region and explains how an award she won recently will spur her on to help even more women.

In the aftermath of the Kosovo* war in 1999, people were confronted with no choice but to start anew. Inevitably they looked at what they had, which was not much. Some found the courage to seize what opportunities existed to kick start the region’s economy again. A leading example of this attitude is Mirlinda Kusari – a member of the ETF’s entrepreneurship expert group and executive director of She-Era, a women’s NGO active in Kosovo.

“After the war my town was completely destroyed. Businesses were lost; people had nowhere to turn,” said Kusari.

Having stayed in the country throughout the conflict, she had a very clear idea of the kind of uphill struggles people were facing. In her short time at the International Organisation for Migration, she had heard about a summer school for entrepreneurship set up by the Institute for Development and Research and the Centre for International Private Enterprise. Kusari absolutely had to be a part of it.