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.



Mentoring session : Challenges for women entrepreneurs

Our Mentors have personal experience of owning and managing a small or medium-sized business successfully for years, are aware of specific challenges that women entrepreneurs face (e.g. in starting a business, accessing finance, networking and balancing family and business).
Our mentor Mrs.Flutura Xhabija, a senior expert in support to women business, and especially





Mentoring session: using ICT tools for business purposes

While many women mentored during the IPA CBC project implementation report that they own and regularly use mobile phones, not all of them have regular internet connection. Also, few own other kinds of ICT tools such as computers, broadband, internet-enabled laptops or smart tablets), and very few use the more advanced features of the online world.  Also, this shows that ICTs are not being used fully for business purposes, but primarily for personal and social motives. The key challenges include women entrepreneurs’ limited ICT skills, and their lack of awareness of and low confidence in using ICTs for business purposes. Affordability and financial reasons might also be a constraint as smart tables, laptops, computers, mobiles and internet connection cost and women cannot afford to add to their expenses more than what they already have.

Mentor: Teuta Xhindi

Mentoring session on legal support for women entrepreneurs in Elbasan

micro enterprice development project for women in crosboarder area  is offering expert mentoring to women entrepreneurs, to help them keep their new businesses going during their first, very challenging years. Each entrepreneur was matched with a suitable mentor (considering location, business type, etc.) and met her each month for three months in a row. .A clear outline of the goals and objectives was agreed between both parties to ensure that the best results could be achieved. Mentors have personal experience of owning and managing a small or medium-sized business successfully for at least five years, be aware of specific challenges that women entrepreneurs face (e.g. in starting a business, accessing finance, networking and balancing family and business), or experts that have experience in legal issues, or ICT, or Communication etc They undertook to share their knowledge and know-how with their mentees and be available to meet them regularly.
Our legal mentor is Ms.Dhurata Çupi, a senior expert in legal issues regarding local legal support to business, and especially supporting women entrepreneurship.

Mentoring session on social media

There is no denying that in current times, social media is a powerful tool for businesses to embrace. From improved communication with customers, increased brand awareness and authority to a growth in sales and website traffic, the benefits of social media can hardly be overstated. Going hand in hand with social media, digital marketing and the vital part it plays in every business’s success was another important element highlighted during the project.

Our mentor Blerjana Bino had a fruitful discussion and women shared their experience using social media for business.

Access to finance and banking

Marketing systems are undergoing rapid transformation. Traditional marketing channels with ad hoc sales are being replaced by coordinated links between processors, retailers and others. As incomes increase, women business patterns are changing. Consumers are becoming more demanding in terms of quality and safety and demographic and income trends are leading to increased demand for convenience products, together with assurances of product safety.

It is against this background that donors, NGOs and others are recognizing the need for activities that link women businesses to market demand. Thus approaches such as “Linking to Markets”, which assume the development of long-term business relationships rather than support for ad hoc sales, were identified during the meeting in Elbasan. The meeting and discussions briefly reviewed examples of linkages developed both directly by the private sector and by projects where donors and NGOs provide the catalyst for women to work more closely within the private sector.

There is a growing trend towards branding on the basis of quality or taste attributes, and this may have the advantage of not requiring certification. Among some development agencies there tends to be emphasis on helping women to identify profitable markets overseas rather than domestically.