TIRANA, May 29
Challenging times call for innovative and affordable solutions. This was the drive that brought together startups, innovators, and university teams in ‘How to help Albanian businesses with new affordable digital solutions’ hackathon organized by EU for Innovation in cooperation with Crazytown/Finland, ICTSLab and OFICINA/Albania.
The third in a series of hackathons took place on 25-27 May. During the 48-hour event, bright minds grouped in 15 teams of student and university staff and startups and innovators converged online to find solutions and spark ideas across the following challenges that small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) face in Albania.
Challenge 1: How to help businesses to better understand and make use of e-commerce / omnichannel solutions?
Challenge 2: How to improve HR workflows, processes, and transparency with affordable digital solutions?
Challenge 3: How to make use of real-time data and technologies for better decision-making and cooperation?
SMEs meet tech solutions
While increased measures and social distancing were key to stop the coronavirus, digital presence is key for businesses to survive the crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic showed that the companies that have gone digital were able to cope better with the crisis compared to businesses without a digital presence. Unfortunately, in Albania only 5.8 percent of businesses had an e-commerce website in 2019, a report from INSTAT confirmed on Thursday. One of the lessons learned from the pandemic is that e-commerce and digital presence will be the new normal.
No other moment would be more adequate to hold a hackathon focused on supporting SMEs fill the gap of digital presence in an affordable way.
The teams were guided through the hackathon, by two facilitators from CrazyTown, Finland (Toni Pienonen and Mikko Korpela). Joint meetings referred to as “checkpoints” were conducted on certain intervals, while in between the competitors were coached by the mentors and business experts.
The teams pitched their ideas based on tangible digital needs and challenges arising in the SMEs ecosystem. SMEs were represented by the Albanian Commercial Union, Albanian Manufacturers’ Union, Young Entrepreneurs of Albania Union, and Albanian Microfinance Association.
All pitches delivered on May 27 to a jury of mentors, business representatives, ecosystem stakeholders, etc. Pitches will be evaluated based on their impact, novelty, and accountability while the winners will be announced on Friday, 29 May at 19:00 hours.
EU for Innovation project will award prizes to the winners
- Participation in the EU for Innovation Bootcamp 6/2020 (an acceleration camp with support from high-level trainers and mentors to develop the best projects/ideas of the EU4Innovation Hackathon series further)
- one person from each winning team will be invited to join a trip to European startup conference (e.g. Websummit, Piratesummit, Slush)
two months of free coworking at Innospace in Tirana
- Participation in the “Matchmaking and Exposure Programme” of EU for Innovation, 2 weeks of internship in Germany
- Participation in an incubator or accelerator program in Albania
- Continued follow-up support by EU for Innovation
Stay tuned to get more insight on the winners of hackathon#3 “How to help Albanian businesses with new affordable digital solutions?”
More information on the hackathon final ceremony is available HERE
Source/Photo Credit: EU for Innovation
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