Youth Festival: Youth Need More Spaces for Innovative Ideas to Thrive

ALBANIA – The RYCO Local Branch Office in Albania together with the World Vision Albania concluded successfully the Youth Festival 2021 under the slogan “ACT4IMPACT” on Thursday, 29 September 2021, in Tirana. The Festival brought together youth and those working with youth in discussions about employment, youth development, entrepreneurship, social cohesion and inclusion. 

The final and second day of the event focused on employment and self-employment, social entrepreneurship, what the job market offers for young people and can they navigate in it. Throughout the event, various business ideas and opportunities were presented and discussed, and special focus was also given to the importance of social entrepreneurship in the community. 

The first part was a fair of innovative business ideas from young people, some of which were supported by RYCO within the project RISE – Regional Incubator for Social Entrepreneurs, and others supported by the World Vision Albania within the REINVEST project. The young entrepreneurs had the opportunity to share their experiences and products with the participants of the event and promoted their businesses. Their projects covered different topics, from artisanal arts and cultures, to women’s empowerment, social inclusion,  sustainable and healthy lifestyle, tourism, food management, animals’ rights and protection, and environmental awareness.

In continuation, the second part of the event aimed to connect young entrepreneurs with key stakeholders in the field of business and entrepreneurship as well as to provide them with an opportunity to address questions and concerns. 

The panel discussion was moderated by Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office Mr Kreshnik Loka, and was attended by Director of Programs and Partnership at World Vision Albania Ms Arjola Kallçiu, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship Protection Ms Edona Bilali, Deputy Mayor at the Municipality of Tirana Ms Anisa Ruseti, National Coordinator for Migration Issues, German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) Mr Florenc Qosja, Director of Human Resources at Balfin Group Mr Elvin Nosi and RYCO Project Coordinator of RISE Ms Ardita Bonatti. 

Speaking of financial support to young ideas for social businesses and startups, Ms Ruseti stated that the Municipality of Tirana is supporting innovative ideas and invites young people to join their calls for start-ups and keep informed about the business grants provided for young entrepreneurs.

In addition, Ms Bilali also listed various opportunities for young entrepreneurs and invited them to stay proactive in applying for many more programs designed to support youth.

All panelists shared their insights, advice and recommendations with young people as well as answered the questions that they addressed. The youth participating at the panel, Kudreti, Leonidha, Luftiu, Kreshniku, Aldi, Amelia and Romina, represented thousands of other young people across Albania and the region and urged stakeholders for more opportunities that provide the necessary skills for the future as well as with more spaces for social businesses and youth ideas to thrive.

“Each of us in this panel and beyond, including stakeholders from the public and private sectors, should contribute, lobby, and join forces for more concrete support and spaces for young entrepreneurs,” Ms Bonatti concluded.

In two consecutive days, the Youth Festival 2021 promoted spaces and opportunities for youth activism, digitalization, employability and entrepreneurship. Both days gave a voice and opportunities to youth to express themselves in interactive ways. In addition, the Festival provided a space where key national stakeholders discussed the need for more coordinated action, partnerships, plans and strategies regarding youth activism and employability.

To watch the second day of the Youth Festival (in Albanian language) visit the Facebook page of RYCO and World Vision Albania.

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