On December 14th 2017, the USAID Kosovo team led by USAID Economic Growth Office Director Brian Martalus visited two EMPOWER Private Sector beneficiaries in north Kosovo.
First stop was at Peppermint International, the only large-scale producer of essential oils from a wide variety of wild-growing medicinal and aromatic plants. During the visit, the owner Stojan Milojević showed the new equipment and gave a tour around the two facilities; one where the herbs are collected, dried and kept in cooling chambers, and the other one where they produce essential oils through distillation/extraction processes. The grant awarded from EMPOWER Private Sector has enabled the company to purchase machinery that are essential for processing herbs into demanded oils. The investment in the new equipment will enable production and sales expansion and create 17 new jobs over the next three years, and over 60 jobs at suppliers of both cultivated and collected medicinal and aromatic plants, including seasonal field collectors from North Kosovo and Strpce communities.
Next visit was at Milos and Marta, a company with eight years of experience in cake and cookie production, and the largest producer in North Kosovo. Over the years, demand for Milos i Marta’s products exceeded their supply capabilities and the company’s ability to expand with its limited equipment. In March 2016, EMPOWER Private Sector supported Milos and Marta with a grant of €14,300 to co-finance the purchase of cooking equipment. The grant enabled Milos and Marta to increase production and quality of their products. It recently became the main supplier of sweets for the University Student Center in North Kosovo. In addition, the company has entered the market in Gracanica and started to export to Serbia. The new line and equipment financed by EMPOWER has already enabled the creation of 5 new jobs and is expected triple sales within three years.
EMPOWER Private Sector in partnership with SIDA has supported North Kosovo companies with the purpose to expand their production, and generate new jobs.