Under the motto "Korça not only beautiful, but also innovative," Korça Digital Weekend with the participation of dozens of professionals, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts from the technology community in Albania brought some of the most inspiring models for young Albanians who founded and run very successful with access to global markets.
This conference was attended by more than 200 guests, 30 speakers and two parallel activities were organized where the vision of the Municipality of Korça for the transformation of Korça into a center of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship was unveiled.
In his opening speech at Korça Digital Weekend, the Mayor of Korça, Mr. Sotiraq Filo said that this conference gives young people all the necessary reasons to stay, live and work in Korça, having equal opportunities and chances with every young person in Albania and beyond. Sotiraq Filo tha se kjo konferencë u jep të rinjve të gjitha arsyet e nevojshme për të qëndruar, jetuar dhe punuar në Korçë duke pasur mundësi dhe shanse të barabarta me çdo të ri më Shqipëri dhe më gjerë.
He emphasized Korça as a small market which offers fewer opportunities for growth and employment unlike metropolises like Tirana or Durrës, but thanks to technology we can change this reality. Mr. Filo called on young people to stay in Korça and that thanks to this program the fields of opportunity will be expanded by providing access to global markets.
One of the goals of this program has been to build a network of partners with universities, organizations, companies and various businesses in the field of technology."The Municipality of Korça will allocate a considerable fund to support the youth of this program and make available the public infrastructure as libraries which will be turned into workspaces," he continued.
Former Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania Mr. Niko Peleshi expressed his enthusiasm for organizing such a conference in the city of Korça and expressed his full conviction that Korça will not be just a catwalk of such activities but also an atelier of innovation.
“We want to build innovation artisan workshops in Korça" he said during his speech. He said that this moment is stationary for Korça, which after 10 years of program for the regeneration of the infrastructural, cultural, artistic, sports and tourist base for the so-called Korça 1.0, and is now the moment for a new journey, towards the station Korça 2.0.
“We can not make Korça a better place to live and work with patriotic vocations but by bringing the world to Korça and Albania," said Mr. Peleshi.
The greeting speech of Mr. Filo and Mr. Peleshi concluded a direct link from San Francisco with a Korça success story in Silicon Valley and that today works for the social network Facebook Heraldo Memelli. He said there are dozens of ways to acquire technical skills simply through the internet and work from home comforts, something he did not have in 2004 when he got into programming.
In the first part of the day Kushtrimi Shala, Dritan Mezini, Albi Zhulali and Agi Haxhimurati shared with the participants their experiences, tips and an overview of what awaits the world in the next decade, a decade of digital transformation and innovation.
The co-founder of the Albanian ICT Awards, Kushtrimi Shala shared some reflections about the World Economic Forum held in Davos which focused on technology. "By 2030, 1 billion jobs worldwide, or 1/3 of jobs, will be transformed with technology," he said.
Dritan Mezini, co-founder of DuaPunë.com, shed light on the dilemmas of whether we are ready for tomorrow's challenges.
Albi Zhulali, founder of the Softmogul platform spoke about his experience of starting a business from a business to creating websites to tourism and founding Softmogul.
Expert in design, branding and communication, Agi Haxhimurati says that we do not expect inspiration to do something, we inspire others.
The second part of `Digital Skills` started with a panel composed of Veton Kurtsmajlaj, Dritan Pecini, Prof. Dr. Edmond Hajrizi, Eljona Kosta and Fiordi Pernaska on the topic How will the capacities of Digital Albania be harmonized with the global economy?
In the next presentation, Driton Musolli, co-founder of Transmogul lectured from his experience how to make the most of the network of contacts and said that every achievement we have as a company and team has contributed to the contacts, meetings and exchanges of experiences we have had with other people.
Anisa Berisha from the UK Albania program TechHubProgramme and Fiordi Pernaska, CEO of VIP TIE shared their experiences with studies, job search, management and founding a company from Albania.
At Korça Digital Weekend, startup PleXusvr part of the first edition of Uplift Albania demonstrated to participants the virtual reality game. Renato Toni emphasized the potential of virtual reality and revealed that he received a $ 50,000 investment from Uplift Albania.
In the framework of the establishment of the Global Digital City by Vigan Group, Arjodita Mustali presented a workshop for all young people who have an idea by inviting them to present it. During this activity, young people introduced, developed and worked with mentors in the format of a boot-camp. 10 best ideas presented for 60 seconds on the stage of Korça Digital Weekend.
Laidi Ferruni called on young people to sell products online on any platform other than Facebook or Instagram. He emphasized cost reduction and how easy it is to start an online store today compared to 10 years ago when he launched something like this.
How to build a future where we can face any challenge was Arjodita Mustali's question for the audience. She said the misfortune of a country is not the bad people but the good people who do not speak by encouraging young people to express their idea and communicate it.
Economist or engineer, Dr. Ilir Çapuni says that he has always chosen the second. One technology we lack today and makes our lives better tomorrow it is the technology of the future he said.
From Korça we must tell all young people who dream that we can do this even without leaving Albania, said Arbër Çepani.
Florensa Haxhi, Ersenilda Elezi, Edmond Alla, Gerti Boshnjaku and Rafail Prodani discussed the initiatives that the Albanian government is taking in the field of innovation and technology, the importance of recognizing the sector and its financing in a panel for 30 minutes.
Mërgimi Cahani, founder of the Albanian language search engine Gjirafa.com said that what pushes us to wake up early in the morning is building the digital economy in Albania. SmartWork CEO Gjergji Robo and Baboon CEO Genti Selenica presented their companies and the challenges they faced in founding them while Alqi Puli explained the startup ecosystem and its function in a smart city "Smart City".
In the final moment of the Korça Digital Weekend Conference, 10 ideas were presented which were elaborated during the activity. Some of the ideas presented were the creation of game tournaments, the creation of an urban pole for creative technologies, a platform for problem solving, the placement of city maps for tourists, the opening of an online store with in-house designed products.
At the end of the activity 19 jobs were offered by Baboon, Smartwork and DuaPunë while other partners such as New Media Communication, Vigan group offered training in marketing, finance and law, Laidi Ferruni offered his consultancy for building an e-commerce web. ICTSlab provided € 400 training for the two winners by learning programming on several platforms.
Korça Digital Weekend is part of the Global Digital City platform which will provide an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to learn and expand their knowledge to work independently, start a business and adapt to the demands and needs of the market.
The conference was dedicated to every young person with ambition, young entrepreneur, professional who seeks to further expand their new skills and every organization that wants to be part of the program of the Municipality of Korça to build a favorable ecosystem for promoting business, innovation and creativity.
At the meeting of the Investment Council, digitalization was assessed as one of the 4 potential sectors of the country and a priority for investment, for 2019, along with agro-processing, tourism and natural resources. The choice of digitalization as a priority sector occurs for the first time. Therefore, such conferences that unite all actors, or similar activities, such as projects aimed at promoting this sector are of great value and promising for its future development.
We remind you that the Albanian Business Services Association (ABSA) in partnership with the Together for Life Association have started the implementation of the project "Support the BPO sector through legal framework, advocacy and lobbying for economic growth and employment", which is supported by RISIAlbania an Agency project Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, SDC.