For Zenun Bajrami, owner of Koba Sh.P.K., participation in the International Furniture Fair in Tirana in March 2015 proved to be a fortuitous business decision. Five months and six new contracts later, Koba has increased sales by around €50,000 and has secured a new market in Albania.
“It all started at a meeting with the Association of Wood Processors of Kosovo,” Bajrami begins to tell the story of his company’s recent success. “They told me about the furniture fair in Albania and put me in touch with USAID’s EMPOWER Private Sector. My company and four others received USAID support to participate in this fair. Now, I have serious business relations with a growing number of big clients in Albania, including hotels and business centers.”
Bajrami learned everything about manufacturing movable partition walls during his 25-year career in this production line in Switzerland. In 2014, he registered in Kosovo Koba Sh.P.K., a manufacturer of movable partition solid and glass walls, with a unique operating system that no other company in the Balkans uses. The company currently employs nine workers, and as the number of contracts and sales grows, so will the number of employees.
“As a result of the recent contract with Albania, I hired two new people and increased salaries for the best performers,” says Bajrami, who apart from introducing new products in the market, is working hard to instill a culture of work where product quality and longevity, and honesty of transactions prevail. He develops and conducts the training for every single worker himself, until everyone is fully capable of producing to Koba’s standards.
To meet the needs for operable parts for the movable partition wall systems, Bajrami has opted to collaborate with metal-processing companies in Kosovo rather than import such parts. These companies are now producing parts that live up to Koba’s Swiss standards. By means of such collaboration, the company has also become an “agent of change”, resulting in new products of high standards in the Kosovo market.
“I am very happy about how things are going for my company, especially with the new market in Albania, thanks to the assistance from USAID’s EMPOWER Private Sector. It is the first time I have ever received any such assistance,” says Bajrami.
His plans are to continue with a natural but solid expansion, including new products, additional product certification and new markets.