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Start-up assistance leads to self-employment

Eine Frau steht in einem Friseursalon und blickt in die Kamera.
A successful entrepreneur: Vahide in her hairdressing salon

Start-up assistance leads to self-employment

My name is Vahide and I live in Kosovo. I’m 39 years old, and my husband and I have four children. I worked as a hairdresser for over 15 years, but we found it difficult to make ends meet. We emigrated to Germany in 2015 in the hope of a better life, although we weren’t able to work there. After three years our asylum application was rejected, so we had to return to Kosovo. Luckily we then learned about the German Information Centre for Migration, Training and Career (DIMAK) in Pristina. The advisory team there assists returnees like us to resettle in Kosovo. So shortly after we came back, we visited the centre to look for job opportunities. The advisors explained the options that were available to us.

Funding for work equipment

Since I wanted to become self-employed, I found one of these options especially interesting: a reintegration programme run by the Republic of Kosovo’s employment agency for returnees. Budding entrepreneurs can use it to obtain funding to buy work equipment or something similar. This was particularly important to me because I really wanted to work as a hairdresser again – this time running my own salon. DIMAK helped me to apply to the employment agency for start-up assistance to fit it out. The only thing I have to pay myself is the rent.

DIMAK also enabled me to take part in a training course on starting a business. This training taught me how to successfully manage a business that will stand the test of time. The subjects included accounting and inventory. The GIZ advisors even helped me to prepare my business plan. I was able to open my own hairdressing salon in Pristina in 2019 under the trading name “Vali”.

All of this was only possible with the help I received from DIMAK. I’m really happy to have my own hairdressing salon and be able to style people's hair again. I was the one bringing in the money for the family, as my husband has unfortunately been unemployed since we came back. But then along came the corona pandemic in 2020.

Eine Friseurin bearbeitet die Haare einer Kundin mit einem elektrischen Lockenstab.
Satisfied customers: Vahide’s salon has become established, but the corona pandemic is making things difficult for her.

Plans for when the pandemic has eased

Business was excellent when I opened the salon, but now we're not very busy as there are hardly any customers coming in. I’m only working to cover the rent, and there’s no money left over after that.

Still, I'm doing everything I can to stop myself from having to close. I intend to really get going again once the pandemic has eased, and I would like to expand my business. My daughters are grown up now and the hairdressing salon is also a career opportunity for them too. Starting a business in Kosovo has meant a new start in life both for my family and for myself.

As of: 01/2021

The opportunities for advice and assistance described here are offered as part of “Returning to New Opportunities”.

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I really wanted to work as a hairdresser again – this time running my own salon.
Vahide