‘Strawberry Fields’ in Kosovo
A Business Plan Competition organized by BSC Strpce/Shterpce, held under SPARK’s MFSII Programme in six Kosovo minority populated municipalities attracted 60 applicants in first and 46 applicants in second half of 2013. One of 8 Business Plan Competition winners, supported by a favourable loan from the first half of the year is Ivan Milosavljevic, the owner of PP “Cuba” company. Ivan received a favourable loan from SPARK’s “Loan Guarantee Fund” for expanding his business for his idea of cultivating wild strawberries called “Regina”.
The activity of ‘Cuba’ relies on production and processing of wild strawberry that has exceptional demand in the world market. Ivan says that this business idea enables realisation of fair profit on a small planted area; his business plan is focused on the production of wild strawberries on 10 acres which enables the creation of 2 permanent and at least 2 seasonal jobs in the period from May until November.
Around 70% of these strawberries are being packed by authorized reseller from Kosovo and exported to EU countries. Around 20% of the entire production Ivan is using for making jam and liqueur which is becoming more and more popular in the region and some 10% is being sold to local market for fresh strawberry consumption. Some of Ivan’s products have been shown at the Regional Entrepreneurship Fair held in September at the Strpce municipality as a part Spark’s MFSII project.
Ivan states “I am more than happy with how it is going so far. An average local family can easily cultivate strawberries on 5 to 10 acres and make a good profit of it. It is an encouraging fact that residents of this municipality are getting more and more interested for this type of business as demand for these products is much higher than we can produce right now”.
The Business Support Center Strpce/Shterpce, within the “Youth Entrepreneurship Development” project, is part of the MFSII Programme, intends to provide further support to these businesses and to organise capacity building trainings for them in 2014 as well, and provide easier access to funds aimed at small and medium enterprises development and job creation.