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?
The last 11 years seem to have flown for us at EasyPay It seems to me like it was yesterday, when everything started to take shape!
Starting a new business is not easy; you have to think about everything but the idea such asimplementing strategies, organizing logistics, staffing and procedures; marketing and commercial activities, etc. etc.
I have always been and still am very involved in every sector of my business. My background (IT and Management) and my several years of career in the banking and financial sector, give me all the knowledge and flexibility to understand if something is not where it should be. Also, many years of experiencein this sector help with the wide network of contacts, which are much needed today, especially when you are among the few women in this market which is dominated by men!
What have been some of the biggest challenges for you?
In a new market sector, in addition to the opportunities provided when entering the market first, the challenges are endless. There are challenges every day, in every sector, starting with internal organizational challenges as well as external challenges in terms of regulation, competition, marketing, customer issues, etc.
However, if I were to divide them in time, I would say that the biggest and first challenge of our activity, during 5-7 years has been Financial Education to the market. Changing the mentality of Albanian consumers (both in terms of B2B and B2C), is a major challenge which requires in addition to financial resources and special human resources. In terms of recent years, the biggest challenge is related to the integration of Easypay with the banking sector, adaptation to regulatory changes and the entry into force of the new Payment Law (PSD2), which is expected to bring substantial changes in the sector where we operate.
Another major challenge in our sector is the lack of skills in the market, especially those in ICT. Since we operate like Fintech, the word Tech is at the core of what we do, so we need to be at the forefront of innovation all the time and for that we need very good ICT staff, especially in software development but the market is currently experiencing a crisis in this sector.
Whatever the challenges, they themselves make the life of a diversified business and such has been life these 11 years at EasyPay! Meanwhile when you overcome them, piece by piece, you feel very proud and it gives you adrenaline.
What have been some of the biggest wins of your engagement?
The biggest win for me as CEO is creating a company culture that basically its focus are People! The staff is the main engine of EasyPay and seeing every day, with dozens of young people working with passion and devotion for EasyPay, is my biggest win! Today we are 45 staff members at Easypay and we manage a wide network of more than 500 Easypay agents who are small and medium businesses throughout Albania, who cooperate with Easypay every day These 11 years we are proud to have served 1.2 million customers.
What are the most innovative products you have launched on the market?
Creating a digital payment platform, the first Albanian online payment application (completely made “in-house” by Easypay staff), portfolio of more than 40 online payment services in this application, the development of services such as mobile money transfers from one EasyPay user to another (PeerToPeer), QR payments of major events in Albania and others like these are services created by the wonderful EasyPay staff, who have been created according to the needs of local businesses and consumers. Our daily challenge is to increase these one-click payment services and at the same time increase the number of customers who believe in our products and use them every day.
As government and business tend to move more and more toward digitalisation, we tend to track them more and more with digital payments and transfers (or as they are otherwise called “real time payments”)
What are some specific needs of EasyPay?
- As I mentioned before, EasyPay’s biggest challenge is educating the market and consumers. In this part, the help and support of all private and state actors is needed to educate the new generation about personal finances and the innovation that the market brings to make life easier for the Albanian consumer.
- Another need is the support of local government to support innovative payment services such as Easypay so that all municipal services can be digitized and can be paid by mobile phone by citizens. It is worth mentioning here the success story we had with the Municipality of Tirana where we currently offer many types of payments of this municipality such as: gardens, taxes, water bills, fines of the Municipality, etc. but we have also been partners in the realization of events important such as the Tirana Marathon where tickets are sold every year completely online, from all channels offered by Easypay (card, Easypay button, Easypay points, etc.). We very much hope that other municipalities follow the example of the Municipality of Tirana in the direction of digitalization.
- Another need is support in identifying talented young people, especially in the field of ICT and their employment in Easypay. In this regard, we have had joint projects with the Municipality of Tirana, focused on the employment of young people in the capital and we already have in our young staff who have been employed by these projects. We also have a group of interns from the activities of the Directorate of Innovation, Municipality of Tirana and are professionally developed in Easypay, specializing in the field of Fintechs for the future.
Why did you choose Tirana to establish and grow your business?
As the capital city of Albania, Tirana is a large youth based city with a large market of more than 1 million inhabitants and with endless opportunities!
The target audience of EasyPay is mainly the youth, the generation that is already doing everything with mobile phones, those who have a preference and desire to explore new technologies, those who are avant-garde in the things they use and all of them can be easily found in Tirana .
The target market is the first reason for establishing a business in Tirana, but we can not leave without mentioning the fact that the headquarters of our main partners are located in the capital, such as banks, telecommunications, etc. Also 1/3 of our network of agents operate in Tirana and its surroundings.
What are EasyPay’s objectives for the next 3 years?
On the one hand, we at EasyPay aim to continue with the development and growth of our portfolio services, responding to the needs of the local market and maintaining the position of leader in the Fintech market in Albania. On the other hand, we aim to soon achieve territorial expansion in all areas where there are Albanians and to bring services that come to the aid of the Albanian diaspora.
If you want to share your history with our local ecosystem, you can contact us by email: email@example.com