Social Enterprises in Albania: Something’s going on

The development of social enterprises in the last 20 years is considered one of the key factors in response to social, economic and environmental and educational needs in the world. Social enterprises present effective and innovative models for addressing the challenges we face today. Acting in the public interest, social enterprises create employment opportunities, develop innovative products and services as well as promote social inclusion and economic development.

Albania finds itself at the beginning of developing a broader social enterprise sector.
Generally very few people have knowledge about how social enterprises are organized and how they function legally and practically.
In addition there is no specific legislation on social enterprises. A small number of social enterprises are registered as businesses whereas the vast majority have NGO status and include business activities under this umbrella. In addition, there is a lack of financial support schemes for the start-up of operations.
Fortunately there are initiatives in the right direction, and the importance of social entrepreneurship has been gaining momentum. A law for social enterprises was drafted and state structures and initiatives for the promotion of social enterprises established. We remain curious about how these measures will be implemented.

When talking about social enterprises in Albania anyone you ask mentions YAPS (Youth Albania Parcel Services) as the role model of a functioning social enterprise in the country. There have been other initiatives underway like the beautiful upcycling furniture by Design by Pana or the slow food organic restaurant Mrizi i Zanave, that is btw super close to Pitupi’s workshop in Blinisht, or NatureAlb Soaps that produces organic and locally only sourced soaps.
The start-up scene is also moving forward with an accelerator programme by Yunus Social business, the relatively new co-working space Tirana Talent Garden that opened in May this year as well as interesting initiatives specifically addressing founders and start-ups like Start Up Grind Tirana.

You see lots of exciting stuff going on in the sector in Albania despite institutional and legal difficulties. We will keep you updated on developments and new inspiring ideas here on our blog.