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The end of the second Global Digital City event made me realize that it was a different experience, mainly because this time we didn’t have an audience sitting on the steps of the venues, differently from the first event. It was unusual because at this event we had to social distance and use technology to connect and get close. It was different because we could not feel the applause of the followers after each speaker, but the purpose justifies the means, and for this reason I decided to continue with the initiative.

My goal through the work that has been done on supporting the ecosystem and developing some of the businesses and start-ups, is to create an opportunity for young people to be in touch with the potentials that globalization and digitalization are offering to everyone today, and also to link these youngins to a wide range of successful entrepreneurs from around the world. In these conditions, no one needs to leave Albania, thus creating a favorable business environment and curbing the high wave of immigration.

Shkodra Digital Weekend was the largest event dedicated to digitalization and innovation last weekend (April 11). ABSA, a representative of BPO businesses in cooperation with members and partners VIGAN Group and ICTS-lab, started the Global Digital City initiative in the framework of developing knowledge on digitalization and the digital economy.

Shkodra Digital Weekend is part of the activities developed by the Global Digital City platform, where the first activity we developed was Korça Digital Weekend. Through the Global Digital City platform we aim to bring globalization and digitalization to every city in Albania and in every sector and industry of the economy. As a result, GDC aims to link digitalization with the
attributes of each specific city, such as cultural heritage, tourism, culture, business climate, employment, etc. The aim is to spread this effect in all districts of Albania and in Albanian-speaking countries, where a constant phenomenon is the focus on the development of the

The Albanian Bussines Services Association (ABSA) is a non-profit organization that lobbies and advocates for the development of BPO businesses and youth employment. I would like to thank the strategic partners for their support and trust in this initiative from event to event, and show interest in the platform and its vision, because without their help this platform would not be able to develop. I also thank the local government bodies for their support, partner businesses and many other businesses that have participated in the event, such as: Unit Center; Best training Consulting; CityStats; Premium Media, PCWorld etc.

Given the global situation in which we find ourselves, we are not demotivated by the circumstances, but we have tried to take advantage of them.

I am very supportive of the development of such activities dedicated to innovation, not only in Albania, but all over the world as an activity that brings together speakers from academia, business, politicians, young entrepreneurs, on a unique platform dedicated to digitalism.

The event was divided into 3 sections. In the first section, topics on Digital Skills, iTempus and digital economy were discussed. In the Digital Skills section we had the opportunity to follow the expertise of the local government, successful entrepreneurs, academics, Albanians and internationals, who showed us how the current situation defines the importance of digital skills, of the education system, enterprise, local and central government services. In the iTempus section, for the first time, some of the most important accelerators in Albania and some of the start-ups produced by these accelerators, gave their opinions on entrepreneurship and organizations.

They also had dicussions on how to support innovation and how innovators are adapting to the current situation of the pandemic we are going through. At Digital Economy, participants addressd key topics and provided feedback based on their expertise as central and local government consultants, respectively, giving us a clearer picture of the steps we need to
take now and in the future. Representatives of organizations and universities among the best known in the region who have dared to inspire and educate the younger generation towards technology, gave us concrete feedback on how to facilitate the integration process towards the digital economy.

Also the international panel sponsored by the DaVinci Foundation in Italy in the digital economy section, developed an interesting and important debate for all those who live and work in the region. Six international guests discussed their visions and opportunities for local communities and entrepreneurs in Albania and the Western Balkans.

Personally, since i am not a moderator in profession, moderating such an activity for more than 6 hours was a very special experience. Conversations with 35 speakers and various topics ranging from design, architecture, digital marketing, tourism development, local policies, the relationship between the local economy in the framework of international projects, which in my opinion are of primary importance in the situation which we are globally.

Although in a time of global pandemic, GDC achieved satisfactory tracking figures; by observing the data we can see that there  was large participation. Participation in live viewing on youtube was over 1200; active persons in the Zoom conference were over 300 persons; wide audience from 8 states and 31 cities; 35 speakers from dozens of different companies from Albania, Kosovo, Ulcinj, Italy, Canada and America. 

In addition to the thousands of followersvia streaming, we have had over 250 registered who were provided with a certificate of
participation that certifies the acquisition of knowledge on the application of digital skills and digital economy in various fields. An activity that had many benefits, where many of the speakers represented different businesses and some of them have opened job application opportunities, such as Infinity Promotion by Bledar Lahi.

In conclusion, I would like to remind you that the Shkodra Digital Weekend activity is just one of the activities in the series of activities within Global Digital City platform, with the aim of bringing digitalism and innovation into the region while maintaining the region’s natural and cultural assets into focus. After the success with Korça and Shkodra, our goal is to go with these activities (either physically or virtually) in other cities such as Durrës, Elbasan, Vlora, Ulcinj, Tetovo, etc., where between these events there will be topics specified by the sectors. and the industries of each city.

” Nothing can stop us from being together (not even pandemics) since we share the belief that only digitalization and technology can make us strong competitors in the global market.