When Taulant Rexhepi’s family in Kosovo bought a newly privatized radiator company in 2012, their primary goal was to reduce the need for imports into the fledgling country and possibly meet the growing domestic demand for biomass stoves. Three years later, their company, Enrad, had already surpassed their domestic expectations, so they set their sights abroad.
Fitim Selimi was working as a teaching assistant at Prishtina when he received his USAID scholarship in 2014. Fast-forward two years later. After graduating from Willamette University with a Master’s Degree in business administration, Selimi returned to the high school as business manager and human resource manager.
Some corners of Kosovo’s major cities could easily be mistaken for Milan or Paris, with flashy designer shops and boutiques lining the streets. But unlike Milan and Paris—which attract designers from all over the world—Kosovo’s designers are all home-grown and draw from a rich 200-year history in textiles.
When Liza Gashi was accepted into a leadership program in the United States, her work in co-founding a local Kosovo NGO and its diaspora program were important factors in the award of her scholarship. Having graduated from Arizona State University with a Master’s in public administration, Gashi is now back in Kosovo, leading the diaspora effort and helping young Kosovars to apply for international baccalaureate programs around the world.
When life threw him a challenge, Sheqer Ukaj rose to the occasion, despite facing a lack of technology, lack of financial support, and high lending rates. His path to success started, somewhat symbolically, with a wooden door he made himself. Combining the family’s three-generation tradition of wood processing with his background in engineering, in the mid 1980s, he opened a furniture production company in Kosovo named Ukaj.
Last updated: February 23, 2017