A seminar in Albania
Strengthening women entrepreneurs in Albania is of high importance for the Dutch Embassy in Tirana. The seed for this seminar and the start of NAWE, the new women entrepreneurs network in Albania was planted in 2015. At that time, 4 Albanian women entrepreneurs were selected to participate in the Brilliant Entrepreneur training program in the Balkan. The Dutch ambassador, Dewi van de Weerd, had given them a mission: 'Please make sure that you will share the benefits of the training program with other women entrepreneurs in Albania.’
The 4 women entrepreneurs have taken her request seriously. Full of enthusiasm they returned, determined to share the ‘Brilliant Entrepreneur approach’ with others.
60 women entrepreneurs
The Dutch embassy and RVO were ready for a follow up in Albania. The result was a Brilliant Entrepreneur seminar on 8 and 9 November 2016 in Tirana. The Albanian Gender Alliance for Development Center (GADC) was the local partner for the organisation of the event. Supported and stimulated by the enthusiasm of the 4 brilliant entrepreneurs GADC managed to double the target number of 30 participants! More than 60 entrepreneurs from all over the country travelled to Tirana. The size and diversity of their enterprises varied a lot; from financial advisers, tourism, beauty salons, to goat and turkey farms.
A team of 4 trainers guided the participants in two days through the ‘Brilliant Entrepreneur trajectory’. This began with the identification of everyone's talent, the definition of the 'why' of the companies and the concretization of a business innovation step. Some examples: Nevila discovered that her talent is to simplify things, for herself and her clients; the owner of the beauty-centre found out that her motivation was not limited to polish nails but that wished to make her clients’ inner beauty visible; and the owner of the turkey farm decided to offer a ‘turkey-cooking’ workshop as an extra service for her clients. The participants learned to bring this all together in an enthusing elevator pitch of 1.5 minutes.
Good presentation is an underestimated part of entrepreneurship. Therefore, the Dutch Pitch Queen had joined the Brilliant Entrepreneur team. Under her leadership and critical evaluation of an expert jury, 8 selected pitchers showed their best for a prize in the pitch competition. For most of them this was a unique experience. Not before had they presented themselves to such a large audience.
The Albanian press and authorities shared the enthusiasm of the entrepreneurs. Broadcasts on Albanian TV channels of the encouraging speeches by the Minister of Women and Development, the adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs and our Dutch ambassador put the spotlight on the importance of women entrepreneurship.
During the marketplace valuable contacts were established between 12 national institutions, service providers and the entrepreneurs. And the networking? Bring 60 women entrepreneurs together and a sparkling interaction is ensured.
To which did this all lead? The positive reviews speak volumes. More than 60 women entrepreneurs have loaded their inspirational batteries. They have gained confidence in their talent and shaped the future direction of their businesses. The 4 winners of the pitch competition are an encouraging example for others. The average of 8 new valuable business contacts per entrepreneur lay the foundation for new networks. As a basis for follow-up, NAWE, the Network of Albanian Women Entrepreneurs was launched, starting with the participants of this seminar. The fire has been ignited, new plans have been made!