How does it feel to receive the perfect support just when you need it most? Imagine an earthquake shattering lives and businesses, followed by a pandemic that brought everything to a standstill.
Meet Lejla, Meleqe, Rifat, Suada, and Muhamed—residents of Kavaja. They have walked distinct paths, yet their stories converge at a crucial point: each has reaped the rewards of the UNDP's In Motion methodology. Their journeys have been challenging but undeniably rewarding.
Lejla, a seasoned tailor with over 40 years of experience, faced daunting challenges. The aftermath of the earthquake and the ripple effects of COVID-19 left her struggling to maintain her tailoring profession, endeavoring to employ additional assistants amidst financial constraints.
That's when the #InMotion programme stepped in. Lejla gained crucial insights into business management and finances by receiving essential trade tools—an advanced sewing machine, a drill and accessories that help with the installation of curtains at home or at other businesses, and a laptop—to streamline her operations and elevate the quality of her craft.
"In Motion has had a profoundly positive impact on me. Every new piece of knowledge is essential, especially when managing a business," Lejla emphasizes.
Meleqe Kazazi, the mind behind "Butik Meleqe," found a newfound sense of hope. Since its establishment in 1999, her clothing boutique has faithfully served a solid clientele for over two decades. However, the earthquake and subsequent pandemic posed formidable financial challenges.
The #InMotion programme breathed vitality into her business. Meleqe not only received crucial financial support but also invaluable training, advice, and an attractive brand image.
"In Motion has made a profoundly positive impact on me. Every new piece of knowledge is essential, particularly in business management. Through the guidance of business consultants, I've learned how to enhance my business operations. It's quite a revelation—I thought I knew everything," she says.
Rifat Togu runs a tailoring shop. He joined the programme shortly after it was announced. He was trained on how to improve his business plan, sales, and marketing and apply business steps such as planning, monitoring activities, finances, marketing, and services.
To optimize the impact of the technical assistance and support, In Motion equipped Rifat with a new sewing machine, and a drill, enabling him to provide services both at home and at other businesses. Additionally, the programme helped revamp his commercial image. The support package also encompassed social media and marketing training.
"I learned the power of social media. I never imagined that it would help me grow my clientele and my business. Today I have my own social media accounts to promote my work and gain new clientele. The work has doubled, and I even have clients who live abroad. A very beautiful experience," Rifat affirms.
Erisa and Suada, two sisters along their family, run "Studio Qoli" in Kavaja.
Despite their efforts to offer innovative services and stay competitive in the market, financial challenges resulting from the earthquake and pandemic have impacted their work.
Through the "In Motion" programme, they gained valuable training, technical support, new commercial image and a new printer.
Suada expresses the positive impact of the initiative, stating: "Since joining this project, my earnings have seen a significant increase. With the addition of the new printer, we can now offer canvas printing, setting us apart as the exclusive providers of this service in Kavaja."
Muhamed Telaku's story speaks volumes. Returning to Kavaje after completing his studies, he dedicated himself to managing his family's business, a small restaurant that serves breakfast. During this critical phase, the #InMotion program became his guiding light, illuminating the path to recovery and growth.
Through personalized training, technical assistance, and a revamped business image, Muhamed's enterprise experienced a significant uplift.
“In Motion came as a gift for us just as I stepped into the business to assist my father. I was uncertain about where to begin and how to attract new customers. Thanks to the guidance of the In Motion programme, we have significantly increased our profits and now, in our small restaurant, we not only serve local customers but also welcome foreigners who visit Kavaja during the peak seasons”- said Muhamed.
The "In Motion" methodology, tried and tested in various disaster-affected countries by the UNDP, is proving to be a lifeline for micro and small enterprises. It provided personalized technical support to enhance business management skills, modernize commercial images, and offer small grants to repair and replenish damaged business equipment in the wake of disaster.
Until this point, In Motion has supported 112 medium and small-sized enterprises across the municipalities of Tirana, Durres, Lezha, and Kavaja. Thanks to a team of trained and certified business consultants, 2,712 hours of technical assistance and more than 60 hours of group training for all participating businesses have been conducted.
Today, most businesses report a notable increase of approximately 20% to 30% in their incomes, coupled with improved business and financial management. All businesses have undergone a transformation, receiving a fresh and revitalized commercial image.
In Motion is a crucial component of the "Economic Recovery and Resilience" (ERR) project, implemented by the UNDP and funded by the governments of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Furthermore, within the framework of this programme, the American Bank of Investments is actively backing fifty micro and small businesses in Lezha and Durres, adhering to the successful "In Motion" methodology.
*The original source of this story can be found here.