“When I applied I didn’t have a clear notion of how much I would still have to learn about business. I just knew what I wanted and calculated that the financial support from the Programme should be sufficient to set up the Centre. I knew I was taking a risk but I told myself I’d regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t take this leap into the dark. Thankfully the trainers and mentors at the workshop were incredibly helpful and reassuring.”
As soon as Qanie had completed the training she set about refurbishing the 800 m2 premises she had located for the Centre. “With the grant money I got from the Programme I was able to install new floor tiles for the building and have the electric wiring upgraded. Then I spent the remainder of the 185,000 MKD on buying educational aids for the children.” Just one week after opening the Centre and after only a single post on Facebook, 15 children had already applied to attend. Today some hundred children spend five hours a day at the Centre with their friends and educators.
„Of course I was afraid at the beginning,” recalls Qanie, “and nothing ever goes completely smoothly when you start out on a venture like this. But the immediate popularity of the Centre convinced me I had made the right decision. And I‘ve had great support from my family and the community—most of all from the children’s parents who have entrusted me and my team with their children. We’ve all been sharing this experience and learning from each other. From the start I’ve talked with them about my plans and they’ve given me feedback and ideas.“ Qanie clearly enjoys her job and its responsibilities.
She is not planning to stay still, however, and right now she is re-registering her company as a kindergarten that will operate under the umbrella of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy with an approved preschool curriculum. She is also in the process of purchasing her own premises to allow space for more children. New multilingual groups will be organised and an additional 10 staff will be recruited. “Over the next year I’ll also be devoting a lot more time to promoting the Centre. Something I learnt on the Programme is how crucial it is not just to deliver high quality services but also to build a good brand to promote those services.
” The Head of the Tetovo Employment Centre, Tomislav Trifunovski, sees Qanie as a great example of the benefits of the Self-Employment Programme. “What really impresses me, in addition to the success of the Centre and the positive services it provides, is the way it demonstrates the broad range of opportunities offered by the Programme. We are very keen to encourage such diverse business ideas from everyone who feels they’re ready to take the risk of managing a business.”