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This Friday, we opened our doors to welcome Entrepreneurship enthusiasts, and other curious people on starting their own new businesses. This November, #StartupWekeend has successfully completed the mission to find the most talented young entrepreneurs, give them new opportunities and help them connect while encouraging collaboration and engagement with likeminded people. Thirteen teams had the chance to pitch their idea and network with entrepreneurs, investors, and other innovators.

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Startup weekend highlighted many interesting and up to date activities which have served as a great source to stimulate the development of entrepreneurship in Kosovo. It is important to emphasize that Prishtina startup weekend was a great source of women empowerment in business considering that more than half of the participants were women.The teams were supported by mentors who have constantly promoted hard work, confidence and decision-making to these young entrepreneurs. Through their help the participants have come up with creative solutions to the problems that matter to them and their community.

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Day 1: #SWPtishtina teams showed up on a Friday evening, without a lot of information on what to expect. They finished the registration and took some time to get introduced to each other. Afterwards they were invited to share their ideas through putting them together on flipcharts. All the participants were thinking of ideas on how to convince other people in the room to why their idea is worth spreading.

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Day 1 ended with all teams already organized and ready to start the next day energized for the upcoming days. They all seemed very committed for a weekend full of productivity and fun.

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Day 2: The second day was a very productive day, considering that the teams already got their problems and solutions figured out. During the day they took the time to adjust their original ideas with the aim to introduce the product of service which would be the most appealing to the costumers.
Saturday was already a highlighted day considering that throughout the day, mentors were available to help out the teams with their ideas, offering advice based on their previous experience. Prishtina Startup Weekend mentors included business consultants, founders, owners, and partner such as: Ardian Jashari, Jeta Zagragja, Leart Zogjani, Rron Cena, Valon Canhasi, Valon Sopi and Zach Coelius.

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Day 3: The most important day for all of us was Sunday, November 20th. This was the last day of Startup Weekend, where the teams had to finally wrap up everything that they have worked on for the last couple days. Every team leader was preparing their pitches and putting final thoughts on how to present their team idea. Additionally, the final day was also the fun day, considering that we took the time to attempt the coolest new social media trend “Mannequin Challenge.”

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The judges determined the winner based on several techniques, while showing their views on how these ideas fit in Kosovo and international market.This year’s jury included: Uranik Begu (ICK), Besian Mustafa (Kiesa), Visar Dobroshi (Recura), Leonora Kusair (Ebrd), Blerim Rexha (Ick), Viktor Krasniqi (Consultant) and Mergim Cahani (Gjirafa.com)
Prizes included €5000 for the winning team (Happy Feet), €2500 for each of the two winning teams of the second place (Outdoor & Libr), and €1000 for each of the three teams of the third place (DM Solution, E-librat & Picktick). Additionally, ICK is providing the incubators for the winning team and teams of the second place while adding mentorship opportunities. The other winning teams got the opportunity to use the co-working space of ICK, too. First team also got €500 and adnetworking services from Gjirafa.com.

We are proud to successfully empower creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial energy among aspiring entrepreneurs, while working on new ideas, skills and aspirations. We hope that all the teams, and especially the winning team will be able to generate jobs and economic growth in the near future.

For more information about Prishtina Startup Weekend, please visit our Facebook page or follow #SWPrishtina on Twitter.

Find the event pictures below and See you all next year!!

Blog by Rita Vula.

Korab Osmanaj