British Chamber of Commerce Kosovo

British Chamber of Commerce Kosovo

Raising Money and Our Voices

On Thursday 3rd Feb, the British Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo held a round table covering the topics of Raising Money and Lobbying.  The underlying point behind this session was to explore the knowledge of Kosovo SME?s and Entrepreneurs about how to access funding for their businesses and how the economic framework within Kosovo is perceived and thus, how lobbying could be successfully achieved.
Our expert guests comprised of four finance experts and the leaders of the two largest business affinity groups in the country; Bersant Disha from Recurra Financials, Muhamet Mustafa from Riinvest Institute, Albert Matoshi from Raiffeisen Bank and Artina Sadiku from Crimson Capital.  From the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce we were joined by Director Safet Gerxhaliu and the Kosovo Business Alliance was represented by Agim Shahini.

Across the spectrum of our guests we covered the various channels of finance options; Purchase Order Finance, Angel Investment, Venture Capital, Corporate Finance, Institutional Finance and the Capital Markets.

One of the main lessons we have taken from this session is that we need to prepare companies expectations about the processes required to raise money.  It seems that there are many myths about access to money and what is required from companies and their owners, so as a Chamber we will be making an effort in this coming year to communicate with our members their options more clearly and help them in their approach to obtaining finance.
Financial institutions in Kosovo seemed to receive much of the blame for lack of access to funds but we learnt form Raiffeisen that the capital available to boost the SME sector is quite significant indeed.  What did seem apparent is that there is a clear need for innovation as entrepreneurs are still looking at funding businesses that are often dated and not really an ideal target for investors.  In this case we also need to asses the viability of business plans and perhaps introduce sector experts to bring business models and ideas up to date.

Some of the misalignment about the reality of the situation also ties into perception of where the government responsibility lies within the private sector.

It seems that no business discussion is complete without a lengthy speculation as to the government activity, plans and culpability for the bad economy.

Having listened to the thoughts and views of various SME representatives I would personally conclude that it would be healthy for the private sector to look away from the government for answers and to the European market for partners and customers instead.

Granted, access to those markets is limited when one must always apply for visa?s but by leveraging the relationships in Chambers, such as the BCCK, Kosovo business people can find it easier to reach across borders and initiate new business opportunities.

In brief, the session was certainly enlightening and has given us some great insight into what we as a Chamber need to focus on in order to create new relationships and foster them into being a thriving addition to the economy.

Many companies do not know where to turn to obtain funds and this round table should have at least demystified some of the options available and encourage entrepreneurs to set some wheels in motion.

One final highlight of the event was that we were able to announce that Krenare Rugova Fashion have successfully managed to obtain backing from British Angel investors and are now on the path to expanding their operations with a view to becoming an established boutique in the UK.  Personally, I think that it is a great way to lead opinions and raise awareness as a testimony to the textile and fashion business in Kosovo.