Digital4Business is an EU-funded project aiming to boost the digitalisation and digital transformation of Kosovo’s economy. In the blog below, Dea Hajdaraj, a Junior Communications Specialist provides an overview of the goals, objectives and milestones achieved by the project through the support of the European Union.

By: Dea Hajdaraj, Junior Communications Specialist

Digital4Business is a German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) project. Its implementation within the Innovation and Training Park (ITP) in Prizren — an emerging regional hub for entrepreneurship, business innovation and skills development — has been jointly entrusted by the European Union Office in Kosovo and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Commencing its work in February 2022, Digital4Business aims to diversely boost the digitalisation and digital transformation of Kosovo’s economy, especially the country’s many Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs), and its workforce, focusing specifically on empowering the widely young population and women in Kosovo. Embedded in the ITP’s Digital Transformation Center as a one-stop-shop for digital ecosystem development, its four intervention areas are therefore designed to scale and sustain even beyond the end of implementation in May 2024.  

Digital4Business relies on four Intervention Areas: 

Empowering a Digital Workforce 

Through Digital4Business, more than 800 youth and women, who are either without a stable employment situation or employed within an MSE, are up-and re-skilled through state-of-the-art training courses in a variety of digital skills. The training courses are implemented by the Innovemia – Innovation Academy established by the Kosovo-founded Digital Media and Entertainment company MetDaan as well as the Skill Factory by Cacttus Education at the ITP Prizren and in Pristina. Digital4Business thus contributes to a workforce more digitally competent enabling job creation and the strengthening of business growth, resilience and innovation in Kosovo. 

Support to MSEs to digitalise their Business Operations and Activities 

Despite progress in digitalising the Kosovar economy, the advancement is currently predominantly concentrated around larger companies. For this reason, Digital4Business directly supports 30 MSEs from throughout Kosovo, which were selected through an open call and mostly still operate on a traditional business model, in their digital journeys. With the assistance of Certified Digital Transformation Experts (CDTE) based on conducted digital maturity assessments, individual digital transformation strategies were prepared for each company and are financially and technically supported in its initial implementation stage. The initiative is facilitated by two of the members of a Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) – a key pillar in the European Commission’s Digitising European Industry initiative – which was established under ITP Prizren’s Digital Transformation Center as a lasting one-stop-shop to support Kosovo’s economy in responding to digital challenges and becoming more competitive.  

Enhancing e-learning through the Kosovo Research and Education Network (KREN) 

Kosovo Research and Education Network (KREN) was established in 2019 at the ITP Prizren through the Kosovo Digital Economy (KODE) project, supported by the International Development Association (IDA) and implemented within the Ministry of Economy (ME). It pursues the mission to empower digital transformation in Kosovo’s research and educational community, foster innovation and develop infrastructure as well as advanced services. With the support of Digital4Business the development and utilisation of e-learning services through a Moodle-based Learning Management System (LMS) platform is targeted. Not only significant investments were made to provide additional hardware and software to further expand the capacities of KREN’s user network and its data centre in this regard, but also strategic and technical support was given, as well as capacity-building measures were implemented, like a train-the-trainers program for Instructional Designers. 

Applied Research and Technology Transfer 

Under Digital4Business’s fourth intervention area, an open call was launched in September 2022 to award four grants of up to 50,000 EUR each for the joint implementation of applied research projects by public Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in cooperation with at least one local company of micro, small or medium size. As a result, more than 20 project proposals were received out of which a committee of international evaluators selected the four winning project ideas. The projects which are all from the University of Pristina are currently in implementation and encompass areas such as traffic management optimization, smart parking, innovative approaches for the production and application of insect frass, as well as sustainable dairy production. The grant scheme is accompanied by an ongoing capacity-building program to raise awareness on the importance and expand capacities for an intensified academia-industry research collaboration in Kosovo.  

On an institutional level, Digital4Business otherwise supports the establishment and operationalization of the Center for Research, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer (CRIKT) by the University of Prizren, located at the ITP Prizren, with a special focus on the facilitation and promotion of the University’s research work and development of a knowledge and technology transfer system. 

To learn more about Digital4Business and its transformative initiatives in the digital landscape, visit Digital4Business

Reference: Europe House Kosovo