TechTalks is an initiative taken by Innovation Directorate part of DPTIIDH, featuring local entrepreneurs helping to strengthen our ecosystem. By inviting founders to answer five questions, we want to highlight the most inspiring stories and patterns of our ecosystem. We hope that by giving startup founders a space to share their knowledge and experience, we will all learn and grow together.

How has your career helped you with setting up your start-up?

My experience working in the “Big Four” company has influenced my formation as a professional and intuition as an investor. The taken steps and the knowledge of the clients in the structure have helped me to understand their needs, advantages and disadvantages to provide solutions for each process. Passion, analysis and constant research have helped me keep up with the latest developments and enable their application through Smartwork, and most recently with UnitSystem. Both companies provide essential services for the day-to-day processes of modern businesses, for which the latter are willing to constantly invest in innovation. My choice has been to work in a foreign market in order to bring practical knowledge and international work culture to Albania.

What have been some of the biggest challenges for you?

One of the biggest challenges has been motivating colleagues to stay in Albania. We are known as a hardworking, smart and ambitious people. With the experience gained in Smartwork on the professional side, the knowledge of the foreign market and the international business culture, many young people have received offers to work in foreign companies. Personally, I understand their desire and appreciate the initiatives they take, but the steps must be taken thoughtfully and with a long-term vision. I’m proud that Smartwork forms such a foundation, but I’m there to advise and support everyone in making the right choice.

What have been some of the biggest wins of your engagement?

The biggest victories are related to colleagues. First, every person at Smartwork has space to be themselves, to express their opinion and to seek their professional development. The best indicator of this are the numerous applicants who have heard of Smartwork from in-house staff. This is the best marketing and investment.

My personal success is linked to the success of colleagues. Those who have grown up in Smartwork and have chosen to stay, help us to develop this technological island, which serves international clients. Also, I am proud of my departed colleagues and their successes.

Interesting projects and international clients offer development opportunities. In the beginning we were always looking for the best projects. Today, thanks to the good name of the company and the qualified teams, foreign companies seek cooperation. We are already at the stage where we choose. Projects are a key factor in motivating everyone.

What are some of the specific needs of your business?

Based on our business model, the main needs relate to support from vocational education. Every day we work on profiling individuals to prepare them for the professions of the future, with our “Rebrand yourself!” Program. I would suggest more youth engagement activities in order to understand where they want to profile and invest professionally. If they get used to the work culture, the spirit of cooperation and taking the initiative to learn new things at a young age, they will find themselves very quickly in the labor market and in the latest technological innovations.

Our competitors are international companies. This brings the need to support the technology industry with state-owned fiscal initiatives by removing the personal income tax for employees in the IT industry. The same initiatives are being taken by Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, etc. We are still in time to be competitive against them. We must use the natural potential we have to turn talents and attract “Digital Nomads”. The benefits are numerous, starting from the exchange of professional experience in recognizing the cultures of different countries of the world. Thus, the boundaries will be only terrestrial.

Why did you choose Tirana to establish and grow your business?

Tirana is the capital of youth, the city that never sleeps. This is a characteristic of creativity, which he finds in every corner of it. There are many young people in Smartwork who, with their liveliness, include us all, make us feel equal, regardless of age or experience, and look at situations from different angles. Organizations enable us to talk, get to know and learn from each other. Tirana has very beautiful places for us and our partners, who return with great desire.

How do you see Smartwork over the next 5 years?

My vision for Smartwork goes beyond business. Among other things, Smartwork will serve as a career school for young people, as a strong foundation for all those who want to develop further and as part of the lives of those who believed in the first steps. I want Smartwork to be like an open source program, where everyone can contribute freely and their footprint remains on time.

The democratization of technology is exponentially improving the lives of all persons regardless of location. After the pandemic people value health, family and close relationships. We are laying the foundations for the technological community in Tirana. For me it is not a dream, that in 2030, we will have managed to bring back those people who are leaving today.