Programme report: Results from the first Kosovo Green Challenge 

BOOST x Kosovo successfully wrapped the Kosovo Green Challenge 2022-2023, an impact acceleration programme that advances innovative, green business practices to help the private sector’s recovery from COVID-19 and pave the way for a climate-resilient future in Kosovo*.  

This challenge was a collaborative effort to bring together institutional stakeholders, civil society organizations, and the private sector to support Kosovo’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and strengthen the innovation ecosystem. “BOOST x Kosovo represents a pioneering initiative, with a particular focus on empowering young entrepreneurs in their endeavors, to cultivate novel business models that prioritize innovation, circularity, and zero-emissions,” said Maria Suokko, Resident Representative, UNDP Kosovo.  

The recently published programme report highlights the achievements of the inaugural cohort of grant winners and participants. Fifty high-potential SMEs were selected to partake in the Kosovo Green Challenge in 2022. The participants, who represented diverse regions of Kosovo (including non-majority communities), completed a five-week programme that featured individual and group mentoring sessions, entrepreneurship training, coaching, and technical advice. BOOST x Kosovo matched participants with global innovators who helped to develop their ideas technically and financially.  

Out of the cohort, fifteen winners were granted approximately 20,000 EUR each to pursue projects that leverage innovative technologies and promote sustainable, efficient, and circular business practices. The selected enterprises tackle waste management technologies in agriculture and food production, ecological and green manufacturing, smart parking applications, AI-driven reduction of e-commerce returns, and digital fashion production aimed at tackling overconsumption and overproduction. 

The impact of the BOOST programme was profound, with 94% of the attendees expressing a strong recommendation for the programme. While the participants already possessed a solid grasp of the environmental challenges and technical skills relevant to their field, the programme helped them gain valuable proficiencies in key green economy concepts — 72% reported gaining a better understanding of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  

Beyond enhancing their ability to navigate emerging technologies and digital tools, the participating organizations made significant strides in entrepreneurship. Notably, 89% of organisations refined their business models during the programme. 83% deepened their understanding of impact goals and development indicators, creating opportunities for more effective measurement and management of their initiatives. The workshops also provided a vital platform for 89% of participants to connect with industry experts and establish an impact management and monitoring framework for their projects.  

Following their completion of the programme, the first cohort of BOOST graduates in Kosovo continues to benefit from ongoing support, networking, and funding opportunities as they join the wider BOOST Alumni network, which is facilitated by UNDP’s Innovation team at the Istanbul Regional Hub. 

The remarkable outcomes achieved by Kosovo’s inaugural BOOST cohort highlight a readiness to foster transformative growth and embrace the green transition with a people-centered approach. The Kosovo Green Challenge has empowered a new generation of entrepreneurs to drive positive change in their respective fields and contribute to Kosovo’s sustainable development journey. 

BOOST is an impact acceleration programme, powered by UNDP Europe and Central Asia. In September 2022, BOOST x Kosovo launched the Kosovo Green Challenge, which was made possible through the Climate Promise: Growth Through Green and Just Recovery from COVID-19 project, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Japan and in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Raiffeisen Bank in Kosovo (RBKO), and the Innovation Centre Kosovo (ICK). 

* All references to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of the Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999). 

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