Elson Iljaz

When I received an internship offer from REDI to work in Horizonti for 6 months, I accepted without hesitation. At that time I was a student, studying Business Administration. Previously, I worked in Union Financial Skopje, in Komercijalna Banka and in the Center for Economic Analysis. I always wanted to gain practical experience to enable me to enter to the labor market and prove my skills.

The internship in Horizonti allowed me to gain critical skills which better positioned me on the job market and enabled me to receive two job offers in less than 6 months after finalizing the internship.

For example, I have learned how to assess the credit worthiness of a person or business when I have sufficient data (such as the credit history, revenues and expenses), but probably more importantly I have learnt how to gather this information in an informal discussion with an entrepreneur. I have learnt to recognize entrepreneurial spirit in people, marketing techniques, financial analysis, work on the field, and most importantly, the way Roma entrepreneurs operate in Macedonia.

I am proud to have supported more than a hundred Roma entrepreneurs from Skopje and Suto Orizari in 2017 and 2018 and I would like to thank REDI and REF for the opportunity!

Jasmina Usainovic

My six months training in Agroinvest Fund Belgrade, had a major impact on my personal and professional development. The opportunity to be a loan officer in Agroinvest was a major milestone for me because prior to that I had virtually no work experience. At the end of the 6 months period, AIF Belgrade has offered me a full time position as a loan officer in their team as a recognition for the energy and commitment I have invested during the internship period.

The fact that for the 6 months I was working especially with Roma clients – largely excluded from access to finance – was a big satisfaction for me. I actively tried to reach-out more to the Roma community to identify the main obstacles they are facing running their own businesses, their needs and learn how I could support them to grow their business and life standard.

Currently, the large majority of my clients are Roma entrepreneurs and I have noticed that slowly my colleagues could also be more comfortable working with Roma entrepreneurs which helped raze prejudices that Roma entrepreneurs are more risky clients. I am honored to have gained the trust of more than 200 Roma entrepreneurs and to have helped 95 Roma access finance. 

Asib Zekir

“I was an intern at MFI Horizonti, Macedonia. I have enjoyed working for MFI Horizonti because an atmosphere that gives a feeling as part of the working environment was created. Until now, I did not have the opportunity to have specialized training in the field I study, my practice at Horizonti was my first experience at a financial institution. The theoretical knowledge coincided with practical teaching. My educational goals were partially achieved by learning how the micro financial system works and collaborates with micro entrepreneurs. With the internship, I am qualified for the position of a credit officer.

Through the internship in the MFI I gained  a range of acquired skills in the field of microfinance such as the lending process which enabled me to acquire skills for assessing the risk of granting the loan, retaining or attracting a client.

Also, there were a lot of challenges, one of the major challenges was the assessment of the credit risk, whether the loan applicant was eligible for the loan, and often participated in the loan application process in order to familiarize myself with the risks that the credit officer is undertaking and reducing.”