Scaling start-ups is not an easy undertaking. Even more so when done from small countries far away from large, international markets. Startups from Albania, a country with a population of 2.86 million, are getting a leg up with the implementation of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Star Venture Programme to help scale globally and develop fundraising skills.
The project is called “Capacity-building for Albanian start-ups", and is being implemented in co-operation with Oficina – a local organization that integrates youth, startups and businesses through incubation and acceleration programmes.
The start-up ecosystem is growing in Albania; 72% of start-ups were founded within the past 3 years. This project will support 12 high-potential early-stage start-ups to accelerate growth through mentoring, business know-how and technical support.
The program is already underway, having been launched on July 30, 2021. Over the course of 6 months, the startups will have access to local and international consultants focusing on:
- Identifying a sustainable journey and building a successful commercialization strategy.
- Preparing concrete, strategic development plans including the creation of prototypes and business models for accessing local and international markets.
- Analysing the market, evaluating the potential of products/services in the market, creating a roadmap to reach targeted markets, and learning how to approach investors, partners and customers.
- Training sessions to increase startups' skills and help them prepare for the next stages of development.
- Raising awareness of the importance of intellectual property rights and increasing startups’ capacity to properly manage IPRs.
In addition to providing mentorship on scaling, the Star Venture programme also addresses the issue of access to finance. This is done by helping start-ups find networks of investors that are interested in supporting early-stage start-ups.
The EBRD Star Venture Programme is present in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region and Western Balkans, and has supported over 200 startups to date. The Balkan portion of the programme is funded by Luxembourg, through the EBRD Small Business Impact Fund, with additional donors including Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the TaiwanBusiness – EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund, and the USA.