New Ideas and Networks are Sparked by Social Entrepreneurship and Green Economy Conference in Albania

Date: Thursday, November 1, 2018

Speakers from Albania, Italy and Germany at the national Conference on Social Entrepreneurship and Green Economy organized in Albania Credit: UN Women/Eduard Pagria
Speakers from Albania, Italy and Germany at the national Conference on Social Entrepreneurship and Green Economy organized in Albania. Photo: UN Women/Eduard Pagria

Tirana,01 November 2018 – UN Women, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, organized the national conference on ‘Social Entrepreneurship and Green Economy in Albania’. The one-day conference was aimed at opening the door for civil society, youth, disadvantaged groups, as well as Albanian women and girls’ to become more involved with social entrepreneurship initiatives and programs.

The Conference showcased some of the best and most successful European social entrepreneurship and green economy practices. Participants also got the chance to hear from and connect with representatives from successful European social enterprises. 

Participants learned through concrete examples how social enterprises had positively impacted marginalized groups in countries like Greece, Romania, Italy and Spain. Among the hottest topics was the Italian example of how many social enterprises and start-ups had received financial resources from the State after the law on the confiscation of organized crime assets was adopted.

“Exchanging experiences with colleagues working outside Albania is very enriching for us because it gives us new ideas and helps us create new relationships to be able to replicate initiatives in our own country,” commented Marian Lukani, the Coordinator of Aclipsia Association and Arka Youth Center. In partnership with civil society organizations, UN Women has carried out a series of activities as part of the Social Enterprises Initiative (NIS-Work and Hope), which aims at informing and training organizations such as Ms. Lukani’s on the new law on social enterprises.

Ms. Merita Xhafaj, General Director at the Ministry of Health and Social Protection said in her opening remarks that the Albanian Government aims to support social enterprises in the country, with an eye on opening up employment and other opportunities for vulnerable groups. “Social enterprises will be financially supported for the first time by the State, and we aim that 30 percent of those working in social enterprises will come from vulnerable groups,” Ms. Xhafaj said.

The UN Women Representative, Mr. Giuseppe Belsito, said the conference and opportunity to exchange experiences with delegates from leading European social enterprises was exactly what participants needed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Brian Williams, the UN Resident Coordinator in Albania highlighted in his opening remarks that: “The Albanian Government's investment in social protection must increase if the country is to reach European Standards”.

Representatives from successful European social enterprises, state authorities, partners and donors, civil society organizations, experts and academics were among the conference participants. The ultimate aim was to establish a dialogue platform on promoting a social enterprise and green economy-friendly environment in Albania.