USAID Kosovo EMPOWER

Textile workers in Kosovo

Cardno is making a difference in one of Europe’s poorer nations by empowering small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to be more competitive and individuals to be more skilled and employable

Against the backdrop of Kosovo’s struggle with high unemployment, a small export sector and reliance on imports, Cardno is helping local SMEs to become more competitive and generate more jobs.   

The EMPOWER private sector activities program focuses on SMEs in select value chains to stimulate productivity, growth, and employment opportunities that are inclusive of women and minorities. In partnership with USAID and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Cardno team has also implemented workforce development initiatives to help prepare local people for the demands of a changing marketplace.  

Our driving focus is job creation – with businesses that have market opportunities, and a need to increase employment to produce more goods and services to meet demand. To support this goal, we are helping SMEs expand and improve their capacity to sell into identified opportunities, while also helping individuals build the skills that are in demand by growing firms.  

Our team is providing technical assistance, combined with grants and procurements from our $4.4M Strategic Activities Fund (SAF), complemented by other project budgetary resources, for long-term staff, short-term technical assistance, meetings, and international travel. 

EMPOWER Private Sector has made significant advances toward its quantitative and qualitative objectives and Cardno is proud to have played a key role in achieving these outcomes.

At the close of Q12, the EMPOWER project has:  

  • created 2,973 new jobs  
  • directly assisted 364 beneficiary companies 
  • contributed to beneficiaries’ aggregate total sales increases ($105.8M) and aggregate export increases ($20.98M)  
  • helped grow these businesses, supported their adoption of new technologies, and prepared them to enter new geographic markets (157) where they presented an expanded product range