When Knitting Becomes More than a Hobby

Speeches Shim

Monday, August 8, 2022
Egzon Musliu, a determined and entrepreneurial-minded young man in action,
Global Communities (Up to Youth) for USAIDKosovo

For Egzon Musliu, a determined and entrepreneurial-minded young man, knitting is more than just a hobby. As part of a cohort of 19 youth who recently completed USAID’s Up to Youth six-month business incubation program, Egzon was able to develop and test an idea to turn his knitting hobby into a business. Using business planning tools he learned during the training, he launched “Johnnie’s Rugs,” a startup that sells handmade, bespoke carpets with designs by client request. To market his business to buyers, Egzon is building a presence on social media, and is hoping to attract support. 

“I aim to sell at least 100 rugs by the end of this year, which I know is quite ambitious,” laughs Egzon. “My mother used to knit a lot, and as a child I enjoyed looking at pieces of that colorful and warm sweater coming together. I also ‘knit’ my rugs, but in a more sophisticated–and as I like to say, ‘a more ambitious’--way.” adds Egzon.  

“I feel like I have grown a lot during the incubation program,” Egzon added, “it gave me the confidence to transform my business idea to reality.”      

Egzon joined Up to Youth in 2020 as part of the Vushtrri/Vučitrn youth cohort. During his time in the program, he completed a range of soft skill training sessions focused on entrepreneurship. Over 100 youth from underserved communities across Kosovo joined Egzon as Up to Youth alumni.

USAID’s Up to Youth Incubation Program offers youth, many of whom are from vulnerable groups, the opportunity, skills, and support they need to develop and test ideas. Like Egzon’s, many of these ideas become business start-ups. You’ll find past participants managing companies in industries such as baked goods, food production, nurseries, marketing, and, of course rug making.


Last updated: September 23, 2022

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