Designer Hats from Waste Textiles – Regional Award for Green Business in Tetovo
On October 26th, in Budva, Montenegro, the winners of the regional competition “Balkan Green Ideas” were announced. In the category of green businesses, we had a winner – the Macedonian idea “Designer Hats from Textile Waste” by Mirjana Josifoska from Tetovo, who won $10,000. Other winners in the green business category are BeBeep, a ride-sharing idea (Montenegro), and Zadrugarstvo, a project involving the reuse of paper from cigarette boxes, with the participation of people with special abilities (Serbia). In the category of embryonic concepts, $5,000 in support was awarded to Purteka, a mobile store for gardening kits for children (Albania), and Recycling PET Revolution, an idea for collecting and processing PET plastic (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
“Most of the textile waste comes in smaller quantities, and to produce a hat, you only need 30cm of material, while a scrunchie requires only 5cm. Our models are sustainably and ethically produced in Tetovo and are handmade in three sizes, making them available for everyone. From the remains of hat production, we create hair scrunchies using a “zero-waste” tailoring technique, leaving no waste behind. I am grateful for the regional award and am glad to have support to work on my dream and develop this kind of business,” said Mirjana Josifoska.
This year, our country also competed with Nathalie Ristovska’s idea “Designing Handbags with a Waste-Free Knitting Technique, Made by Single Moms,” and Blagojce Najdovski’s idea “APICO-PRO SUPERFOOD” in the embryonic category of ideas.
The competition “Green Ideas from the Balkans” has been supporting the development of the green social economy for 12 consecutive years. Three contestants from each of the participating countries present their concepts that aim to improve the environment, have a social impact, and generate profit. ARNO has been the national organizer of the competition since 2015 and, as an association, advocates for greater integration of the three dimensions of the competition: ecological footprint, community inclusion, and market orientation.
“Green Ideas” is an annual competition that, for 12 years, has been supporting the development of small, local, and sustainable business ideas in Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and Greece. Every year, three representatives from each of the countries compete in two categories for awards of $5,000 or $10,000 to realize their ideas in their respective countries. ARNO, for the ninth year in a row, administers the national competition “Green Ideas” and is proud that the country has had regional winners and a total investment of $95,000 for the development of green businesses. These winners include the first cooperative of organic consumers, “Our Good Earth” (2015), an initiative for repairing old furniture that grew into a small business led by architect Marta Moysova – “SPIN” (2016), a platform for selling affordable meals, “Food for All” (2017), educational efforts through illusionistic eco-messages, “Green Magic Production” (2017), sustainable rice production with “Bio Smart Rice” (2019), the “Challenger” mobile application that rewards citizens for walking green kilometers (2019), “Weis Additive,” a green business that produces a food additive by processing pomace (2020), the youth social enterprise “O-Krug,” which produces aromatizers and oils from waste orange peels (2021), and the “Ve Dog Food Pilot Insect Room,” which produces protein for animal nutrition. This year’s (2023) winner is Mirjana Josifoska and her fashion brand that uses textile waste for designer hat production.