Organization of local fairs for women entrepreneurs
Donor: Un Women
Target regions: Shkodra and Durrës .
The Fairs of women entrepreneurs in Albania aimed to promote women's entrepreneurship and networking as well as to increase their access to markets. The Women's Fairs 2012 seeked to encourage and to support women's entrepreneurship, as well as to promote the model of successful bussines women, aiming to increasing the awarness of these women to employ other women and girls in their bussinesses. This activity aimed to create a loby of bussiness women, which will support and strengthen bussinesses run by women.
The Fairs was organized in collaboration with the Shkodra and Durrës Chamber of Commerces, American Chamber of Commerce, Albanian Chamber of Commerce, Gender Alliance for Developement Centre, Association of Artisans in Shkodra through funding of UN Women The exhibition in Shkodra and Durres included the 50 - 60 businesses each, run by women from Shkodra, Durres, Tirana, Kruja, Pogradec, Puka, Lezha and Peshkopia. The event lasted two days in Shkodra (14-15 November) and two days in Durres (21-22 November) and products were displayed at separated panels from 9.00-20.00. Over 1000 persons visited the fairs during the two days, while around 200 representatives of different institutions, consulates embassies, CSOs, businesses and other invitees attended the opening events. The first day was marked by the inauguration of the exhibition with the participation of high level representatives from both municipalities, the government institutions and business sector. An artistic group created a warm atmosphere animating the event in both fairs.
Summary of the priority issues and activities:
1. Focus groups discussion on September 13th in Shkodra and September 18th in Durres.
The purpose of this events were to promote women in business, creating their own network, increasing opportunities to have as much access to the market as possible, and the exchange of experiences to promote the empowerment of women through opportunities to do business in formal and informal ways.
Some of the main suggestions regarding the problems and challenges were:
- Establishing of an Artisanal Complex in Shkodra, in order for the city to return the old tradition of the merchandise exposure.
- Establishing an artisan vocational school (professional courses) for the younger generations so that the tradition is passed on from generation to generation.
- An extensive study and research for the entire region of northern Albania, in order to identify all the artisans and their products and to integrate them and support them.
- Competition in the market. For this, special training is needed for the tools and methods of how to compete.
- The need and the necessity for a particular topic or theme for a fair (for example, the 100th Anniversary of the Albanian Independence, Christmas, etc.). Having a theme, would enable all the participants of these events to focus to find and bring to the market what is most needed and to be competitive for this type of activity.
- Support for participation on international fairs, such as in the neighboring countries of Italy or Greece.
- Support through projects in the coastal regions, having shops to expose their products.
- Developing courses with students, which would also help employment.
- Creating Trademarks, (for example for carpets), would have a significant importance.
2. Organization of the Fair in Shkodra, 14-15 September, 2012
Under the frame of the initiatives for the economic empowerment of women in Albania, organized by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, and supported by UN Women, Gender Alliance for Development Center, organized on the 13-14 of September the Fair on "Empowerment of Entrepreneur Woman".
This project, implemented by GADC, was a good opportunity that was offered to woman in business in general and to the ones in handcraft sector in particular. This Fair was organized with the participation of about 60 businesses which are run by handicraft woman, coming from different cities of Albania. The respective businesses presented their handmade products (embroidery, curtains, carpets, table clothes, wood-works etc.). Most of them were from North of Albania and from South-Eastern part (Pogradec & Korca).
During the opening of the Fair, organized in Shkodra, at the main entry of the "Pedonal Area", were present senior authorities of the Municipality of Shkodra among whom we might mention the Deputy-Mayor Ridvan Troshani, the Italian Consul Mr. Roberto Andreotti, the Chairman of the Handicraft Association of Albania, Mr. Zef Gjini, Ms. Majlinda Angoni, representative of the large businesses in Shkodra etc.
During those two days, the Fair was visited by thousands of citizens, who learned and assessed more the work of woman in business sector, and through the financial assessment of the exposed objects in the Fair, they gave a concrete contribution for the economic empowerment.
During those two days the activity was properly presented in the written and visual local media. At the same time GADC was involved in informing the public in general and the press in particular. GADC used the social networks as well which made possible the increase of the number of persons who learned more on these activities.
3. Panel discussion in Shkodra, 15 September 2012
GADC organized the panel "Entrepreneur women and the fiscal system in Albania" on the 15th of September, in the EU INFO Office in Shkodra.
The main focus consisted on finding the financial tools and ways for facilitating the activities of women in business and the empowerment of the existing businesses which are already present into the Albanian market.
4. Organization of the Fair in Durrës, 21 – 22 September 2012
Under the frame of the initiatives for the economic empowerment of the Albanian women, the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, and with the support of UN Women, Gender Alliance for Development Center, organized on the 21-22 of September 2012, in Durrës the "Empowerment of Enterprise of Women" Fair.
This Fair was organized with the participation of about 50 businesses which are run by handicraft woman, coming from different cities of Albania. The respective businesses presented their handmade products (embroidery, curtains, carpets, table clothes, wood-works etc.). Most of them were from South of Albania (Pogradec and Korca) and from Northern area (Shkodra and Puka).
The Fair was organized in front of Durrës Municipality, next to "Nikoleta Vasi" Gallery and it remained opened for two consecutive days. During the inauguration ceremony were present different senior authorities of Durrës Municipality, represented by Mr. Vangjush Dako, the Chairman of Chamber of Commerce Mr. Andrea Xhavarra, Ms. Elsa Balza, Entrepreneur, Ms. Dejana Burgjia, Director of the Employment Office, Ms. Floreta Luli Faber, and Chairwoman of American Chamber of Commerce.
During those two days, the Fair was visited by many citizens. They liked the work and efforts of these businesswomen who were part of this fair. Their evaluation was at the same time a support for their economic empowerment.
The local electronic and written media widely presented the activities conducted during the fair. For a wider publicity it was used the approach of sharing the information among the social networks as well.
5. Organization of the "Entrepreneur Women and the Fiscal System in Albania" Panel – 22 September, Durrës 2012.
GADC organized the panel "Entrepreneur women and the fiscal system in Albania", on 22 September 2012, in Durres. The Panel was composed of Ms. Dejana Burgjia, Director at the Employment Office, Durrës, Mr. Rezart Xhelo, Specialist of Policies at UNWomen, Elsa Balza, Entrepreneur and Ms. Mirela Arqimandriti, Executive Director at Gender Alliance for Development Center.
The discussions assist to better understand the situation and to share positive experiences for overcoming the difficulties. Even though these problems were already known ones, on one hand these activities identify the many elements that should be treated better and on the other hand they should be studied deeper in order to understand the problems and possible solutions.