Social Need: In Albania, seniors represent about 9% of the population and are expected to rise to 15% by 2020. Despite the fact that the number of licensed services for senior homes has increased by 30%, there are still 120 annual filed requests for residential services that cannot be met. In addition, a significant number of young Albanian professionals who graduate from nursing and social work schools are not able to find employment.
Seniors’ House Social Business: The Seniors House offers high quality services to promote independence, dignity and quality of life for the elderly in Albania, while adjusting the social and health care to the needs of its customers. The residential service provides accommodation, food, daily activities, entertainment, physical therapy, and medical assistance. The day-care center offers a combination of social, educational and health activities that help to reduce the risk of isolation or depression among the elderly. The business also offers at-home services, for personalized care where people live. The Senior House represents a great opportunity in terms of employment and training for young professionals who are searching for jobs in Albania in the fields of social work and health care.
The Entrepreneur: The management team of three entrepreneurs brings in solid general business management experience, and specific field expertise in the area of public health and social services. The CEO, Daklea Xinxo has been successfully managing a kindergarten for the last 5 years and was previously Director of Human Service Directorate at Tirana municipality, Chairwoman at the Albanian Adoptions Committee and Director of Children’s Home (an orphanage).
Social Need: Albania is the most agriculture-oriented country in the Balkans with 55% of the population living in rural areas, employed in agricultural activities. 20% of GDP of the country is generated through agriculture. Albanian farmers face a series of challenges, including small farm sizes, land fragmentation and scarce access to markets. They only receive inefficient advisory services, as there is no active cooperative for small farmers.
Food Made in Albania Social Business: Albanian agricultural products have a good reputation in the country, especially apples, olives, pomegranates, nuts, goat milk, figs and olives. Delico. aims at reestablishing the quality-appeal of local agricultural products by processing high-quality products. It will start by sourcing fruits from smallholder farmers, process them into high-quality jams under DIN standards and distribute it to restaurants and hotels initially, further expanding to other clients in the future. It will help remote smallholder farmers to increase their incomes by providing access to markets and improving productivity through trainings and assistance
SB Entrepreneur: The founder Dashamir Elezi has been a successful entrepreneur for the last 20 years, a well-known fine food expert and serial entrepreneur, who will leverage his existing logistics infrastructure and sales network to acquire first clients in the B2B sector. Among other, Dashamir runs Depurcasa, a company which imports and distributes cleaning products to hotels, restaurants and food industries in Albania. He is also co-owner of a restaurant in Tirana which ethnic Albanian food.
Saint George Valley, Organic Farming Social Business, Shëngjergj village, Tirana
Social Need: There are many issues and needs in the Albanian rural areas specifically in Shengjergj where the unemployment rate is extremely high (35%), families are poor and their lands are empty as they cannot afford to plant anything that will actually give them an income. 250 different plant species are harvested for medicinal and aromatic use in Albania. More than 50% of all sage imported by the USA comes from Albania, as well as 70% of all the wild thyme imported in Germany. Wild-harvesting of medicinal and aromatic plants accounted for 90% of the country’s herbal plants sourcing; but soil erosion and irresponsible harvesting have drastically reduced the quantities available and traceability is becoming impossible.
The geo-climatic conditions of Albania favor a huge biodiversity of herbs. The farm will produce sustainably-grown organic herbs for local and international traders and processors of essential oils. It will also own a seedling nursery to ensure quality of input, rent plots from farmers and employ them for all works related to land preparation, planting, harvesting, and providing them with a source of income. Being organic-certified, it will open markets locally and internationally.
SB Entrepreneur: The management team has successfully been running an essential oils distillery since 2011 and is bringing agronomy skills and market knowledge in the social business. The farm already had its first harvest and a secured a stable client.