Young entrepreneurs awarded for their business plans

17 Dec 2013

image Epton Audio Books receiving the Women Start-up prize awarded by UNDP Albania. Credit: UNDP Albania

Twelve finalists of “pitched today their business plans to a Dragon’s Den-style panel leading businessmen and expert judges. The 5 awards issued came with a prize package of EUR 3,000 – 3,500 each, to help youth launch or further grow their business.

“Be Brave: Start-up and Innovate”, a national business start-up competition for youth, kicked-off on October 1, 2013. It generated unprecedented participation, showcasing innovative ideas of young Albanians and a growing interest towards entrepreneurship. A record of 185 teams from all over the country registered their business ideas for this year’s competition, and 70 fully developed business plans were submitted for further consideration.

Recent studies and consultations indicate that the majority of Albania’s youth project their future either working outside the country or employed in the public sector. “Ki Kurajo” challenged this perception, and demonstrated that when incentivized, trained and supported, youth respond with relevant and innovative start-up ideas. While announcing the Women Start-up prize, Mr. Eno Ngjela, UNDP Programme Officer reflected on the initial skepticism that partners expressed towards both the participation and the quality of expected business ideas. He highlighted the positive outcome of the competition and the successful partnership among all actors that contributed to its success. Mr. Helmut Müller-Glodde from GIZ valued the initiative and stressed that its success warrants future replication.

The 5 winning business plans:

Albanian Traditional Product received the Artisan prize awarded by Megatek. The company will promote traditional Albanian products and link manufacturers to clients in the national and international market. In addition, they offer labeling, packaging, branding, marketing and retailing of handcraft products made in Albania.
Prize – EUR 3,000 worth of products from Megatek

sALvia received the Innovation in Start-up prize awarded by IDS. The team’s core business idea related to the development of an organic plant-based ice tea, whose base will be a combination of sage and blueberry.  In a highly engaging presentation, the sALvia team of four highlighted the curative aspects of sage.
Prize – EUR 3,000 in the form of office premises, PCs and offices supplies for 6 months from IDS

Ariee Design Studio received the Best Start-up prize awarded by GIZ. Ariee Design Studio promotes Made in Albania apparel production, highlighting the need for the industry to offer full cycle production with higher value addition. It aims to reach European markets by increasing the quality of Albanian crafts and fashion design.
Prize – EUR 3,500 in the form of support to proposed budget lines from GIZ

Eco Land received the Eco prize awarded by ProCredit Bank. With a focus on protecting the environment, the Eco Land team intends to introduce buckram bags (non-woven cloth) to replace the massive usage of un-recyclable plastic bags. Initially they will target major wholesale and retail outlets and raise awareness particularly among female consumers.
Prize – EUR 3,000 in the form of preferential loan from ProCredit Bank

Epton Audio Books received the Women Start-up prize awarded by UNDP Albania. The team composed of two young women, seek to bring to the market audio books that can respond to the changed lifestyle and reading preferences of Albanian readers. Utilizing online platforms they will also serve the needs of Albanians living abroad.

Prize – EUR 3,000 in the form of support to proposed budget lines from UNDP
Ki Kurajo: Ndërmerr dhe Inovo (Be Brave: Start-up and Innovate) is an initiative of the Albanian Investment and Development Agency (AIDA). It aims to promote and support young entrepreneurs, inspire potential entrepreneurs, and to match promising business ideas with financial resources and business contacts. Under the leadership of AIDA, this initiative brought together private sector partners (Agna Group, IDS, Megatek, ProCredit Bank), development partners (GIZ, Swiss Development Cooperation, UNDP, USAID) and DigitALB as the media partner.