A beekeeper A beekeeper

Albanian entrepreneurs pitch business ideas for funding at Entrepreneurship Academy

The Albanian Entrepreneurship Academy has moved forward with its first business development course culminating with business pitches from entrepreneurs at an online forum yesterday. The first presentation was given by New York Tirana Bagels which specialises in the sale of bagels, bagel sandwiches, cookies, brownies and cakes. Presenter Alketeja Sokolaj said profits from the bagel business are used by the Different and Equal organisation to provide critical reintegration services to survivors of modern slavery. The organisation helped over 200 modern slavery victims last year. Another presentation was given by QSNNN Marketing, an organisation which buys products from poor families in a rural area in Northern Albania where unemployment is high and people receive very low wages. Joseph Bistransky from QSNNN said his organisation buys their products and employ people to sort, process and package them for sale at national fairs. Profits are used for humanitarian purposes. QSNNN helps about 60 families every year. The final pitch was made by Beekeeping Business which operates in a region in Northern Albania where the diverse flora translates into high quality honey production.  Pasht Kola who presented on behalf of the organisation said he wanted to grow the business from 20 beehives to 50 beehives and provide employment opportunities for Albanians. Staff from Medaille Trust also participated in the course, working alongside the entrepreneurs to develop a business plan.

The presenters received feedback from Duncan Parker, Managing Director of Ethical Goods, Maike Striffler, Co-Founder of SINA Global and CEO of Medaille Trust Garry Smith. Garry congratulated the entrepreneurs on their presentations. He reiterated that the point of the Academy is that participants will be assisted in developing sustainable loal businesses which can offer employment opportunities to Albanians so that they do not become victims of modern slavery in the UK.

The Academy will select one of the businesses which presented yesterday to invest in. The Albanian Entrepreneurship Academy was launched last year as a collaboration between Medaille Trust  and seven Albanian NGOs.  The NGOs identify enterprises which work with a team from Angello, a private development foundation, to receive training and support from business coaches to develop plans for successful local businesses.