«EU for Innovation» – Boosting start-ups

Despite high unemployment – especially among young people, opportunities and support systems for innovative growth start-ups in Albania are limited. There is a lack of exchange of ideas, skills and innovation. Only few organisations support the start-up ecosystem. Access to funding is limited.
swisscontact, Albanien
Project duration
2019 - 2021
Financed by
  • European Union EU
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

The project

The project aims to develop the start-up ecosystem by building networks among innovation support organisations like accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces and start-ups themselves, within Albania, the Western Balkans and Western Europe. This will allow start-ups to network, exchange ideas, find staff, get training and support in areas where they have gaps, and access financing. Building trust is a key component of this; for now, start-ups often operate in isolation.

Boosting start-ups, especially those with high growth potential, will create jobs for young Albanians and revenue for the businesses, thereby contributing to long-term economic growth.

The EU for Innovation project is linked to a larger economic development programme of GIZ. Within EU for Innovation, Swisscontact is responsible for building linkages between start-ups and their support networks, both in Albania, regionally and internationally – with a focus on Germany and Sweden. We will link Albanian start-ups and support organisations to start-ups and ecosystem actors abroad by participating in conferences, twinning, peer exchanges and involving diaspora businesses. Links to businesses will also generate export opportunities, recruiting networks and exchange of ideas and innovation. 


Project goals

  1. Establishing a network of innovation support organisations
    Capacity development, knowledge sharing events, workshops, trainings and study tours to bring ecosystem actors and start-ups together and strengthen their capacity.
  2. Collaboration with diaspora
    Albanian start-ups partner with diaspora businesses to strengthen their networks and skills, while creating business opportunities
  3. Access to regional and international innovation support organisations and start-ups
    Establish links and partnership with start-ups in the Western Balkans and Western Europe, as well as innovation support organisations like accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces etc.


Albania: local opportunities for returning migrants and youth
Two new projects in Albania offer a broad spectrum of employment opportunities, from formal employment and self-employment to innovative entrepreneurship with opportunities for growth.