Wood furniture company is helping to build Kosovo’s future

Speeches Shim

Friday, July 22, 2022
The contribution of the private sector development plays a key role for the people of Kosovo, as citizens' employment benefits both the citizen and the state. - Arben Kelmeni owner of KWT
USAID

With more than 465,000 hectares (over one million acres) of forest, and a centuries-old tradition of making high quality wood products, wood processing is a dynamic and lucrative industry for Kosovo. Arben Kelmendi, who established Kelmendi Wood Technology (KWT) in 2014, doesn't want to keep this a secret from the rest of Europe.  A member of the diaspora in Germany, he is helping to build a name for Kosovo’s wood products in foreign markets.  KWT manufactures solid wood furniture, such as bedroom sets, tables, and chairs in Kosovo but exclusively for European countries – German-speaking countries in particular. 

With support from USAID in 2016, Arben established the Schwarzwald Massivholz brand to highlight Kosovo-made wood products, and opened the first Kosovo furniture showroom in Stuttgart, Germany. The showroom created an effective avenue through which Kosovo wood-processors broke into European markets. 

Even though KWT caters to European markets, Arben is deeply invested in the economic development of his home country.  Arben believes Kosovo-based companies like his can empower Kosovo’s citizens to help themselves and their country.  “The contribution of the private sector development plays a key role for the people of Kosovo, as citizens' employment benefits both the citizen and the state.” 

In a USAID Kosovo video, part of a series the agency created to highlight private sector engagement across the country, Arben emphasized the positive impact an engaged private sector can have on the future potential of Kosovo’s young generations. “The development of the private sector triggers the interest of youth to be educated, to pursue professions, and to be employed.”  

Inspired by a USAID-led internship program, Arben’s company collaborates with the school of carpentry to provide internships to youth.  When the internships are completed, the interns are offered employment at KWT.  Programs like this one are invaluable for the betterment of the country.  Arben’s philosophy is that if young Kosovans see a future for themselves in Kosovo, then the whole country will benefit from their talent, time, and economic contribution.

Because of this, Arben has one message to Kosovo’s private sector: “Cooperate as much as possible with Kosovo vocational schools, so our workforce is Kosovo youth.” This, to Arben, is what private sector engagement is all about.

 

Last updated: August 08, 2022

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