Mentoring session on communication

Effective communication is a vital tool for any business owner. Your success at getting your point across can be the difference between sealing a deal and missing out on a potential opportunity.

You should be able to clearly explain company policies to customers and clients and answer their questions about your products or services. It is crucial to communicate effectively in negotiations to ensure you achieve your goals.

Communication is also important within the business. Effective communication can help to foster a good working relationship between you and your staff, which can in turn improve morale and efficiency.

Mrs. Blerjana Bino, our mentor is explaining to the women the key aspects of both verbal and non-verbal communication, how to listen to and understand others, and how to make the best possible first impression on the people you encounter in and around your business.

Mentoring session: ICT landscape and new business opportunities

The evolving ICT landscape is offering women entrepreneurs new opportunities to strengthen their businesses and become more effective. Studies show that there are different tools such as mobile applications, online platforms and networks, online radio and podcasts, blogs, digital marketing, e -commerce and others that are helping women entrepreneurs to reach out to customers and build their businesses in ways they could not do before. Effective use of ICTs is now helping to overcome several challenges that women entrepreneurs in developed and developing countries face alike. However, the data of this project shows that in the region of Elbasan there is a clear evidence of a “gender digital divide” wherein women entrepreneurs – due to lack of literacy, skills, access, resources and other factors – are excluded from the opportunities and benefits offered by ICTs or benefit far less than men. This confirms the results of other studies as well in this regard.

Mentoring session: the opportunity to find or create your own  job

The Elbasan region is very affected by the problems related to youth migration and informal employment in agriculture, the lack of professional training to increase productivity and the lack of safety and health conditions in the workplace. The economic crisis in neighboring countries (especially in Greece) during 2010-2011 has increased the number of migrants returning to Elbasan, who are added to the large group of the unemployed category. In terms of women’s unemployment, the opportunity to find a job and the period when women lose their jobs while waiting for job opportunities is relatively longer than that of men. There is also a disproportionate distribution of women employed in the public and private sectors. The number of women engaged in small businesses still remains very small compared to men, despite the fact that in the Elbasan region unemployment is higher among women than among men. According to the National Business Centre (NBC), the Elbasan branch lists 8,350 businesses, of which only 41 are run or co-run by women. 11.7% of businesses are run by women. These data relate only to businesses registered with the NBC, as there are small businesses which are registered in the relevant local government units or not registered at all. However, the trend is clear. This shows that the business sector is dominated by men.

Our mentor Flutura Xhabija

Mentoring session: Fiscal reform and how to deal with it

Fiscal reforms,  the Albanian Government approved the fiscal package by Law 179/2013, which as the main objective has maintaining the macroeconomic stability and continuation of structural reforms, in order to create the conditions necessary for the economy to operate in the path of potential growth. This fiscal policy is oriented towards the recovery of the country’s economic growth at its potential. The drafting of the fiscal policy is closely consulted with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB).

In this mentoring are introduced a number of measures such as:

  • personal income tax by 0-23%;
  • corporate income tax 15%;
  • tax for businesses with an estimated turnover of 2-8 million ALL, has a tax rate of 7.5%;
  • tax for small businesses with an annual turnover amounting to less than 2 million, it is 25,000 ALL per year;
  • Removal of VAT in the health sector, for medicines.

Also import of machinery and equipment made ​​with the mediation of the leasing companies are subject to the exemption from value added tax, etc., are important measures that will increasingly influence the creation of a stimulating climate for domestic and foreign enterprises

Our mentor: Dhurata Cupi

Mentoring session: ICT skills for women entrepreneurs in Elbasan

There is ample evidence about the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as mobile phones, computers, and the internet to support economic growth. ICT use by micro and small enterprises has led to improvements
not only in business performance but also in living condition. ICT can be included as a component of public sector management, finance, private sector development, education, social protection, infrastructure (i.e., transport, water, energy, etc.), and agriculture interventions to leverage greater benefits for women. It would thus be useful to gain a better understanding of gender differences in access and use, and of how these tools could be best used to promote women’s entrepreneurship and enhance economic activity.
ICT is a fast-changing area that can provide new opportunities to catalyze women’s economic development.

Mentoring session with our mentor Teuta Xhindi

Mentoring session: Labor law and income opportunities

Providing access to employment and better income opportunities are among the most effective ways to empower women. Yet, little has been done in Albania to address a persistent gender pay gap or improve women’s access to the labour market, entrepreneurship services and credit.

Women’s average salary is almost 18 per cent lower than men’s in urban areas and doubly lower in rural areas. Women are over-represented in Albania’s informal economy and as unpaid family workers in businesses and on farms. Over 50 per cent of Albanian women work in agriculture – 87 per cent of them in unpaid family jobs – and rural women are not covered by basic social, pension and health services.

Few women own or manage companies or sit on company boards. Women own or manage only 28.5 per cent of all enterprises, many of which are under-capitalised small and medium enterprises in highly informal lower value-added sectors. Only 27.9 per cent of company board members are women; over 43 per cent of companies have no women on their board.

Our mentor: Dhurata Cupi

Mentoring session: entrepreneurship through role models

Promotion of a positive attitude towards women in entrepreneurship through role models, success stories and women ambassadors.  In this way, other girls and women can be encouraged to engage in business activity and self-employment. This also helps with peer to peer support and networking.

Our mentor Flutura Xhabija is the best role model!

Access to market linkages and promotion

There are many young women that have the courage and the strong will to realize their dreams, to create, produce and sell their products, and thus earn for themselves and provide existence for their families. These initiatives need a careful support, business assistance and financial means. In order to meet the practical needs of existing women entrepreneurs, and to encourage other women in business. Therefore, the project #micro enterprise development project for women in the cross-boarder area will encounter three types of support: (1) building of skills and competences of women for business management, (2) providing legal and economic support services for potential start-ups, but also dissemination of administrative information about duties and taxes, role of inspections, rights and obligations in doing business, on major type of economic disputes etc. and (3) providing of business advisory services for economic development and increased competitiveness at the market.
The project will relate specifically to existing companies in order to assist them in finding #accesstomarket, increase production, marketing and sale, find business partners and increase also #accesstofinance tailored-made support of women entrepreneurship.