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Supporting youth empowerment and entrepreneurship in the field of information technology – Phase 3

This project aims to promote education in Information Technologies, youth economic empowerment, and entrepreneurship by partnering with NGO “Local Initiative LINK” to sustain and enhance the training, mentoring, and technical assistance activities of LINK’s Mitrovica Innovation Centre (established in January 2019 with UNMIK support). The project foresees 3 main activities for beneficiaries which represent the multi-ethnic composition of the Mitrovica region: 1) provision of specialized training and technical assistance in IT skills; 2) development of “Grab-IT”, an online marketplace to match skilled youth with local and regional demand for IT and other virtual support, such as social media marketing and virtual assistance; and 3) organization of networking and community-building opportunities. In the long term, this project aims to contribute to reducing youth unemployment and address the trend of increasing migration by empowering youth to harness their creativity and leverage new technologies into viable livelihoods that enable them to build fulfilling, challenging, and prosperous careers in Kosovo.

As experienced in the previous cycle, Software Quality Assurance is the most promising, the most rewarding, and the most popular training course in MIC. Students from the previous cycle passed an online test for SQA testers and immediately started to work as freelancers or received internships.

Participants will be trained to perform various administrative tasks, including answering emails, scheduling meetings, and making travel arrangements. Virtual Assistant services have been in increasingly high demand and are particularly appealing due to the possibility of providing remote support.

Within this module, participants will learn how to design, and 3D print their own creations using original and open-source designs. They will learn Fusion 360, a 3D modeling program. Participants will also learn the ins-and-outs of desktop 3D printing, tools & materials, and how to set up 3-D printers.

NGO LINK will design and develop the “Grab-IT” online marketplace for recurring projects, short-term tasks, and full-time jobs. The categories will be divided into major headings like web, mobile, and software development; IT and networking; engineering and architecture; design and creative writing; translation; customer service; sales and marketing.

MIC will organize one Hackathon open to both the beneficiaries of the Centre and other programmers all over Kosovo. Hackathons are popular programming marathons that last continuously for 48 hours, during which programmers brainstorm and write applications. The focus of the MIC hackathon will be to write open-source applications, “hacks”/solutions that can be used by institutions for the benefit of more efficient administration and better-quality service to all residents of Kosovo.

“Fail Night” is an event that features stories of professional failures that led to learning and paving the path to new opportunities. Guest speakers will present to the audience their experiences on crashed partnership relations, failed businesses, and products that have not been accepted by the market. The event will be organized for 100 young people. The goal will be to encourage youth to shift their failure mindset toward an opportunity/learning mindset.