January 6, 2020

National Startup and Innovation Program

Country
Europe
Policy/Program
Description of the core change(s) brought by this policy instrument

The Startup and Innovation Program (SIP) – aims to coordinate development interventions in the established entrepreneurial and innovation sectors, according to a cross-cutting approach, as well as involving actors on the ground.

The Startup and Innovation Program responds to the country's needs for economic growth, sustainable socio-economic development, investment in human capital, increase in the number of self-employed, empowerment of youth and promotion of innovations in technology, science, and business. Economic growth through increased competitiveness and innovation is one of the priorities of the government and the premise for sustainable socio-economic development of Albania.

Startups in Albania and the entrepreneurship ecosystem are still in the early stages. The current ecosystem needs to be fully developed. According to SEE Ecosystem Report 2018, there are specific policy measures that influence start-up ecosystem, specifically enablement, education and promotion policies,  and empowerment policies. In Albania in relation to enablement policies, there is a) no specific start-up strategy. Subject covered within SME related policies. Action plan to boost R&D; b) No public start-up specific institutions; c) No start-up specific legislative measures. Regarding education and promotion policies there is a) Limited public promotion; b) No national entrepreneurship or startup awards; c) Promoting Junior achievement programs in pre-university education system. Municipalities supporting local centres for development of start-up skills. Related to empowerment policies there are a) Four public funds currently provide seed funding for newly established business; b) No specific tax incentives for tech startups; c) No public smart Money; d) No public funding for support institutions.

The SIP program aims to respond to the above-mentioned needs by taking action and creating a) a National Program for start ups and innovation; b) a Startup Law c) a Supportive environment for startup and innovation by developing 3 supportive centers; d) Strengthening cooperative relationships between ecosystem actors.

Please list the implementing agencies
  • Prime Minister Office / Development Programs and Cooperation Unit

  • Minister of  the State for the Protection of Entrepreneurship

  • Ministry of Finance and Economy

  • National Agency for Territorial Planning

  • Albanian Development Fund

  • Albanian Investment Development Agency

  • Ministry of Culture

Please name the policy advisor(s) or leader(s) who have been key in introducing and/or designing this policy instrument

Florensa Haxhi, Director General, Development Programs and Cooperation Unit, Prime Minister's Office

Majlinda Dhuka, Deputy Secretary General, Prime Minister's Office

Eduard Shalsi, Minister of State for the Protection of Entrepreneurship

Lifecycle of target firms for this policy instrument
Existing SMEs
Scale-ups
Startup firms
Support offered
Direct Financial Support
Indirect Financial Support
Non-financial Support
Level of intervention
Entrepreneur-level
Barrier(s) addressed with this policy tool
Access to Capital
Access to Markets
Cultural/Mindset
Regulatory
Skills/Talent
Ecosystem Engagement/Coordination
Policy timeline

a. Ecosystem Assessment (2019)

i. Ecosystem Lifecycle Analysis: Identification of start-up ecosystems’ lifecycle phase;

ii. Regional (or Global) Benchmarking: Assessment of the relative positioning of our ecosystem based on detailed benchmarking against regional ecosystems;

iii. Sub-Sector Assessment: Identification of key areas of strength within the start-up ecosystem and traditional industries to capitalize on.

b. Prioritization and Alignment (June 2020)

i. Ecosystem Report: Detailed report on start-up ecosystem across relevant indicators;

ii. Prioritization of Gaps: Recommendations of what ecosystem gaps and focus areas for action should be prioritized;

iii. Review of Results: Delivery of assessment and in-depth discussion and interpretation of results;

c. Global/Regional Network (2020-2021)

i. Global Connectedness and Networking: In-person meeting and peer learning with other Members and world-leading experts

ii. Best-Practice Sharing: Exchange of best practices among Members and experts, typically at three levels:

  • Government policy and program design,

  • Ecosystem and community practices,

  • Start-up Support Organizations and Programs;

iii. Global Partnerships and Promotion: Global Connectedness and partnerships with Members from all over the world; participating at different events to raise awareness and promote Albania.

Stated goal/metrics of the policy instrument

The Startup and Innovation Program will plan integrated investment interventions in defined areas of entrepreneurship and innovation through the following (4) objectives,  and (11) measures:

O1: Developing an Appropriate Ecosystem for Promoting Start-ups and Innovation.

M1: Creation and operation of the Multi-functional Center for Creative Economy

M2: Creation of TUMO Center-Pyramid Technology Center

M3: Improvement and operation of existing structures of Tech Space Hub

M4: Empowerment of grant funds to support creative businesses

M5: Creating enablement policies for start up developement

O2: Promoting entrepreneurial culture and innovation through capacity building and education

M5: Improving management and training skills for program beneficiaries.

M6: Supporting and promoting creative entrepreneurship.

M7: Vocational education program for young people and other stakeholders in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation.

M8: Increase the technical capacity of government / institutional actors

M9: Creating education policies, and curricula to develop entrepreneurship culture

O3: Strengthening cooperative relationships between ecosystem actors

M9: Establish a platform and cooperation agreements between stakeholders

M10: Improve empowerment policies to support start ups and start up support institutions. 

M11: Engaging Diaspora as Key Stakeholder for Innovation and Innovation Ecosystem in Albania

O4: Increasing the number of employed and self-employed

Evidence of results

Yet to start implementation

Challenges, criticisms and lessons

The startup ecosystem in Albania is very scattered and needs to be organized to function properly and bring results to the country's economy.

Notes and additional context

This Program is at its very early stage.

Geographic scope
National-level