Increasing the competitiveness of MSMEs by promoting innovation and entrepreneurship (ProSME)
On 24 June 2014, Albania was granted EU candidate status. However, the country still needs to establish the foundations for a functioning market economy. Despite progress in establishing market-oriented institutions, Albania continues to face considerable political, legal and institutional challenges in its efforts to comply with international and European standards. Due to that, the project’s objective is: “The competitiveness of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in key sectors is increased by the promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship”. At national, regional and local level, the programme focuses on three core areas which were also identified in the EU-compiled SME Policy Index 2012 as posing the greatest challenges to the development of the MSME sector. These are (women’s) entrepreneurship, innovations and green economy for increasing the entrepreneurial skill set among owners of SMEs in order to increase their potential competitiveness in the national and global market.
To support the project’s objective, CI planned and executed a national business plan competition for 83 beneficiaries with focus on the empowerment of women and innovative business ideas. CEFE trainers and business coaches have been licensed and a contest of all participants resulted in 17 finalists and 5 winners. Partners within the project under the GIZ ProSME Programme were, inter alia, Yunus Foundation, ProCredit and the Ministry of Economy.