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Engineering her own path: Mimoza Shahini's journey running a business to optimize energy

The story of Mimoza Shahini | Engineer and co-owner of ‘Comfort Clima’ company

The energy sector in Kosovo remains one of the most gender-imbalanced sectors where women remain heavily underrepresented. Women consist only 10% of the energy sector workforce, and in general a low proportion of women work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) roles, according to AWESK, the Association of Women in the Energy Sector of Kosovo. The majority of women working in the energy sector are commonly working in finances, HR, legal and accounting departments, and the number of women working in technical workplaces continues to remain low, according to the findings of a study “Gender diversity in the energy sector of Kosovo” published by AWESK.


There are still negative perceptions about women entering certain vocations, including those associated with electricians, mechanical engineers, etc., which act as barriers in their consideration of employment in such areas.


One of the reasons for low female participation in Kosovo’s energy sector may be that the population does not understand what “energy sector” means and what kinds of job opportunities may be available, it is highlighted in the study which.


Despite that most of the women working in the sector are hired by large public institutions managing energy legislation and policy, or even public utilities generating energy, there are some women that look beyond for career opportunities.


One of them is Mimoza Shahini, member of AWESK since it established in 2015. She founded “Comfort Clima”, a company operating as a distributor of ventilation, climatization, and heating equipment, as well as a consultancy services provider for system solutions.


“In 2015, I launched Comfort Clima, initially as a one-woman operation, and over five years, led substantial projects across Kosovo, including a big office complex, a series of hotel buildings, shopping malls, and so on - handling everything from design to fieldwork.”


Mimoza reflects on her journey from completing her studies in Mechanical Engineering to joining her father's firm, assuming a project design role. From there transitioning to manage the Kosovo office of an international manufacturer was daunting, as it required skills not covered in university.


“The real-world business education came on the job, through experience, highlighting a gap

in university curricula”. At the University of Prishtina, there's a lack of focus on essential business skills like project management, tax, customs, sales, and operations.

“From my experience, I've found no disadvantages as a woman in academia or business. In fact, the professionalism and reliability I bring to the table are respected by our suppliers,” says Mimoza who after nearly two decades is disappointed to still find that men predominantly occupy decision-making roles. “This isn't due to a lack of competent women but rather self-imposed barriers and societal expectations.”


AWESK, the Association of Women in the Energy Sector of Kosovo, is striving to improve career opportunities for women in the sector as well as to close the gap, enhancing career opportunities and aligning education with industry needs. The organization is doing this by advocating by empowering female professionals and advocating for more awareness in schools. 


One of the avenues to follow is through internship linkages with industry, be that via AWESK or even by members offering to pass on their knowledge to students.

Sadly, in Mimoza’s case, despite her willingness to mentor, there has been little interest from students in internships or shadowing opportunities. 


“Societal expectations often push women towards traditional roles. Starting a business is seldom encouraged.”


She believes that, despite the outreach attempts by her and AWESK, younger generations are hesitating to embark on linkages offered to them that would clarify their future in the energy sector.


“Looking to the future, while the gender gap persists in Kosovo’s mechanical engineering field, I remain optimistic. Closing this gap requires a collective effort: from parents fostering belief in their daughters to organizations like AWESK fostering connections between education and the energy sector."


Mimoza Shahini’s narrative not only spotlights her accomplishments but also calls for educational reform and societal change to empower the next generation of women engineers in Kosovo.

This story was developed by the Association of Women in Energy Sector in Kosovo with the support from the Center for International Private Enterprise within "WE-Champs: Strengthening the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem by Networking Regional Women’s Chambers of Commerce and Business Associations" project, funded by the U.S. Department of State Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI). All opinions stated herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the United States Government or CIPE.


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