Category Archives: Business

Diaspora Registry Results To Be Published On 2017

Valon Murati, Kosovo’s Minister of Diaspora explained how the registration process, albeit successful, will not be able to produce results before 2017. “The active registration process will end on December 2016, while the passive will last for another year. We are expected to have preliminary results on early 2017, this is good news, the registration process is going as expected”.

Furthermore, Mr. Murati emphasized that the Ministry of Diaspora is well on its way of creating a suitable environment for our diaspora businesses investments and cooperation with Kosovo’s institutions.

A Concrete Success Story

The immigration influx of the 1990’s brought a great number of young Kosovars with ideas and ambitions  to Germany. With lawmakers seeing these changes in a positive light, legal barriers to business-doing were quickly removed ,thus enabling businesses to utilize such potential. These changes offered the opportunity for the Viqa brothers to open up their own business.When brothers Nazmi, Gani and Viqa Ilmi came to Germany in 1992, they brought with them a ambition and determination to work. Established in 1994, they established the  AWR Company and initially started with works on ruined structures, reconstruction and recycling.Through work and great discipline, as well as high quality services, the company expanded to all projects in Germany, winning bids from different companies and German institutions. Their large presence in various industrial complexes, airports and numerous workshops in the meantime shows that AWR is among the leading companies in this sector in the whole of Germany. One of the most prestigious projects of the company was breaking 116-meter building at the University of Frankfurt , which was once the tallest building in Frankfurt. About 30,000 people were gathered last year to see this spectacle, which was conducted with high professionalism of the team’s AWR. 

The number of diaspora businesses in Germany is yet to be known, however there have been steps taken towards creating a database and information log, in particular, the establishment of the Union of Kosovo-German businesses in Cologne in October 2013 marks the starting point of a serious attempt at networking the diaspora based businesses in Germany.The Kosovo-German business union has set up regular meetings with Albanian businesses, visiting the in cities where they work, but also their workshops. These meetings serve to share information of general developments, but also for any current project.

AWR GmbH Company is a good example of success and shows that hard work and courage to invest in the realization of ideas pays off.

Microsoft Awards Albanian Programmers

Online Albanian platform ALMOOC which promotes the scientific education of Albanians, in cooperation with the current leader in information technology (IT), Microsoft, award application programmers working on the Windows Phone operating system (OS).

Almost two months prior, the platform for scientific education ALMOOC, in cooperation with the IT giant MICROSOFT Windows App Studio announced the competition “The Best of Almooc” with the slogan “learning has never been more fun”. The intention of this competition was to engage budding Albanian programmers to build apps (applications) for the Windows Phone OS.

This competition managed to incite a lot of interest in the technologically-passionate in Albania as well as in Kosovo. The number of participants was in the highs of 1000, showing the growth of the competitive spirit in Albanians for such international competitions, but at the same time it shows the amount of Albanian interest in programming in general. This was exactly the reason why Windows App Studio signed a contract with ALMOOC in order to engage Albanian talent in building apps for smart tools working with the Windows Phone OS.

The jury under the lead of the head of Microsoft Windows App Studio Mr. Bryan Tomlinson, selected over 200 apps which were rigorously tested and filtered, finally publishing the list of 20 apps which were presented to the mass audience in the final ceremony. The handing out of the awards happened in an unorthodox e-ceremony, powered by the IT platform which the participants had access to while their projects were being tested in real-time.

The sponsors of the Windows App Studio event coordinated with Microsoft Albania in handing out four tablets in the first category, three of the award-winners being competitors from Prishtina and one from Tirana. In the second category, four Nokia Lumia smartphones were awarded, while in the third category, four certificates of gratitude were handed out for the third-category winners.

Jury member Steven Yee was stunned by the produced work and he remarked that the awards were purely symbolic in comparison to the quality, creativity and functionality of the products which the Albanian participants offered in this remarkable competition. On top of this, the competition proved the competence and professionalism of the participants, which shows the overall high level of ability of Albanian IT programmers.

The organizers ended the ceremony by declaring that this was only the beginning of cooperation with Microsoft, and that projects of this nature will continue, not least due to the continuity which the ALMOOC platform ensures with Microsoft in the near future.

Source:

http://m.telegrafi.com/teknologji/microsoft-shperblen-programuesit-shqiptare-83-1256.html

Mërgim Cahani: Back to Lead Albanian Digital Presence Online

Mërgim Cahani is a serial Diaspora entrepreneur, who returned to his birthplace Kosovo to found a number of technology and application ventures and spearhead the young country’s road to tech industry development.

Cahani is  the founder and CEO of Gjirafa, a full-text web search engine and a news aggregator specialized in the Albanian language. He is also the founder of iziSurvey, an online and offline custom survey creator, and the CEO and founder of Phronesis Technologies. Cahani finished his Masters in Computer Science at the New York University, and BS and MBA at St. John’s University in New York. He returned to Kosovo to contribute to the social and economic development of his native country, and tells us about that decision in the following Q&A between Kosovo Diaspora and him.

A snapshot of the www.iziSurvey.com application website.

A snapshot of the www.iziSurvey.com application website.

KD: What should we know about Mërgim, as a person who left Kosovo, only to come back to contribute to his native country?

MC: Just like many others have returned – after being a student in the United States or elsewhere abroad – I too, after 8 years of education and over 5 years working (all in New York), I decided to come back to the motherland. There are many reasons why I returned – but the main one for me is: if I am going to focus on my profession and give my contribution to the community anyway, why not do it in Kosova. I think – while others may disagree – tech entrepreneurship opportunities in Kosova are better. So far the reality has met my expectations in Kosova. The success of Gjirafa.com so far shows that.

A snapshot of www.gjirafa.com

A snapshot of www.gjirafa.com

KD: How beneficial and challenging was the decision to come back to Kosovo?

MC: There are challenges of course, but most of them are opportunities. Challenges are present in almost every dimension: company operations, management, and infrastructure; then there are challenges in the product development, finding talent, and funding; of course there are challenges in the product usability, user behavior, and business readiness for new tech opportunities and products. So traditional strategic management and previous world-wide case studies do not exactly apply in this business environment, but with a small modification and creative thinking, they do wonders. It keeps our team on our feet at all time, it is dynamic, and it is a lot of fun.

KD: How were you affected by your time outside Kosovo in expanding your worldview and deepening your conviction to come back home?

MC: Naturally it did have its impact. As a high school student in Kosova, I was one of the last generations to attend a clandestine schooling system; going to houses as classrooms and running from the oppression as kids, as if it were a hide and seek game. It was difficult, but it did help me and those generations to be stronger and look at things differently. During my freshman year in New York (NY), where I was able to walk freely with my schoolbag on my shoulders, it simply felt great, really great. I bet one does not hear that very often and in fact it may sound strange to many. Thus, living in the US for over a decade, I was exposed to how things and life quality should be (at least some things). It allowed me to learn and build life expectations for myself and the community, and provided me with the belief that everything is possible given persistence and perseverance. If you can think it, you can make it.  That is the US thinking that I took with me.

KD: Kosovo is building its reputation as a state through technology. Social media have begun serving as a tool for engaging the citizen and digital diplomacy. Our platform Kosovo Diaspora is built on this foundation. What do you think of the potential that Kosovo has for focusing its capacities in building a positive image through digital diplomacy?

MC: Kosova is progressing at a fast-pace on technology innovation. In Kosova currently you have products, and innovative companies that compete on a global level with technology giants. I also think the same holds true for Albania. Our countries have started to change the global image, we are more than what the global media write primarily – we are more than the 90’s news. My personal experience also shows that as soon as you mention Albania or Kosova to the international community, at first glance, one does not receive a very positive image. But with time and work this is en route to change and will continue on the years to come. On the other hand, digital diplomacy plays a vital role in promoting our reputation as a nation. So far this has developed very well, as one can visibly notice from KosovoDiaspora.org.

KD: What is the potential that digital platforms hold to enhance cultural, social and economic growth in Kosovo?

MC: Although I partially answered this above, I think the easiest way to promote our country as an emerging economic market is through technology. In this field we are not limited by borders and other boundaries; there is no segregation. We can have a global reach as we have already started doing so.

KD: What would you say to the Albanian diaspora?

MC: Albanians living in the diaspora need to be in closer relations with recent developments in Albania and Kosova. Things have changed and have started to take a turn. There are opportunities here that could be of interest to them as well. Not just for the sake of contributing to the motherland (as many Albanians from the diaspora have done so and continue to do so), but also there are unique opportunities here that are rare to find in other markets. They should come and meet with people who are working together as a team and aiming to have a global impact. I bet many doors are open to join ventures with potentially high returns. It will happen, and I say (a statement that I hear often from many VC investors in the US): “don’t become a series B investors” (see Facebook investment phases to get a better picture of this statement).

KD: Is there something you would like to add?

MC: Yes. I wanted to mention Gjirafa.com, which is the first and most prominent Albanian Language Search Engine, quickly becoming the premier service for Albanian’s worldwide. Gjirafa, Inc., is a US corporation with offices in Kosovo and soon looking to expand to Albania and Macedonia, but it was built by Albanians for Albanians. Thus, we are always excited to receive feedback and suggestions from Albanians world-wide. Therefore I ask the Albanian diaspora to contact us with any suggestions or feedback, we will be very happy to hear from you and will respond.

Diaspora Business Network to Reach Australia

Strengthening the diaspora community through its businesses is a set priority for the Kosovar Diaspora Ministry. Recently, the Ministry of Diaspora and the Union of Diaspora Global Businesses have held fruitful meetings with the business community in Australia. With key figures such as Mr. Naim Dedushaj, the meetings have resulted with the creation of the Australian Central Branch, located in Melbourne, where the largest Albanian community is located.

Kosovo’s Ambassador Mr. Sabri Kiçmari spoke on the importance of establishing such business networks in Australia, inviting all Albanian businessmen to join. Mr. Naim Dedushaj also spoke of the importance and benefits of this network. At the end of the meeting, he emphasized the goals achieved by the already established networks of diaspora businesses throughout the 16 countries.

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If you are a Diaspora member from Australia, we invite you to support the Diaspora Registry process*. If you would like to register, please click HERE.

*The Diaspora Registry process is developed by the Ministry of Diaspora with the aim of strengthening Diaspora’s ties and participation in policy development processes in Kosovo. The Kosovodiaspora.org platform has partnered with the MoD and Diaspora Engagement for Economic Development (DEED) to promote the registry among our widespread diaspora communities across five continents.

Harvard Diaspora Project Wants Your Say!

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The CID shows that “at least one third of Albanians live outside the borders of their home countries in the Balkans. In the countries where they currently live and work many of them have achieved levels of professional and economic success that would not have been possible at home. We are driven by the image of what the impact of connecting this wealth of knowledge, connections and economic capital with the home countries would be on the Balkans.”

The objectives of CID’s Diaspora Program include:

  • It ensures that the diaspora relations have proper place on the political agenda of the countries in the Balkans.
  • It facilitates the relations between the home governments and the diaspora community organizations abroad.
  • It supports the home governments with building capacities to engage with the diaspora and develop strategies for leveraging its potential to promote economic and social development in the Balkans.

CID’s Diaspora Program starts with reinforcing the relations with the Albanians in the USA, but has the ambition to include all countries with significant Albanian population. Their action plan has three stages:

The first stage involves a series of meetings in the USA between the diaspora on the one hand, and government officials and private sector representatives on the other. The first three meetings will take place in Washington D.C., New York City and Boston in spring of 2015. In June or September of 2015, a joint delegation of Harvard and Diaspora leaders will visit the Balkans and work on establishing the foundations of a strategy for engaging the diaspora in the country’s development. The diaspora strategy should be the main outcome of the visit. The third stage involves implementation of this strategy.

For further details on eligibility and regulations to participate in the program, you can click HERE. To fill out the survey, click HERE.