Why do I consider Global Digital City as a breakthrough innovation in Albania?

A revolutionary Story

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 followers
via 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.

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