Sweet dreams and ambitions of a Kosovo dessert chef

Upskilling and Reskilling
Professional trainings in the confectionary industry equip women and girls in Kosovo with the latest techniques and best practices in the field. These trainings aim to empower them to start their own businesses, gain employment and improve their economic situation.

The Promoting Private Sector Employment (PPSE) project in Kosovo has partnered with a local training provider, LB Academy to provide trainings that cater to women in non-majority communities. The purpose of the five-day training was to initially build confidence in their abilities and serve as launchpads to new opportunities for career advancement.

Desanka Ničić is a young woman from Gračanica, and already passionate about the alchemy of ingredients that result in delicious biscuits and pastries. To her, desserts are not just gustatory delights – they are a canvas of colours, structures, and sentiments. Guided by ambition and desire for new skills in the confectionary industry, she enrolled in a five-day training with the LB Academy. The program promised to train the women with the art and science in confectionary. The success stories from independent women entrepreneurs associated with the academy further fuelled Desanka’s desire to join. They became her inspiration, reminding her of the power of perseverance.

The training program was more than she could have hoped for. From the trainers, who exhibited unmatched mastery, to the participants who shared her ambition and camaraderie, the experience was enriching. Yet, there was a thirst to delve deeper into the intricacies of fondant cake figures and the mesmerizing world of edible colourful paintings.

While she devoured the modern techniques, her heart wandered back to the simpler times in her kitchen. She believes that while machines and tools could facilitate, the soul of a cake came from the touch of a human hand.

Desanka looks forward to the future with hopes and ambitions. She dreams of starting her own cake shop, not just to earn, but help and inspire other young women in her community. She dreams of a place where modern techniques meet traditional flavours, where every pastry told a story, and where her dreams take the shape of delightful sweets.

Desanka’s journey in the world of confectionary, though just beginning, has already been filled with lessons, experiences, and sweet memories. Her message to all dreamers is clear, “Believe in yourself, persevere, and even the impossible becomes possible”.

The training and certification of women in pastry and cake baking is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) project, Promoting Private Sector Employment (PPSE), implemented by Swisscontact and Riinvest Institute.

Entrepreneurial ecosystems, Sustainable tourism
Promoting Private Sector Employment
Kosovo has grown moderately at an average rate of 4% in the last few years (pre-COVID 19) and is constantly facing growing labour force, while the labour market falls short of generating the jobs needed to absorb the new entrants (around 30,000 annually). Formal employment makes around 75% of the overall employment, with public sector accounting for 25% of formal jobs. Youth, women, and minorities (particularly the Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian) remain the most excluded groups. The COVID-19 pandemic did not spare Kosovo’s economy from its devastating impact.