In September 2016, CEED Albania partnered with USAID to implement an Agrotourism Project aimed at improving the living conditions of inhabitants in the rural areas of Shkodra, Malësi e Madhë, and Puka, through employment in a sustainable and vibrant agrotourism sector.
The project will end in September and has provided technical assistance to six fully operational agrotourism farms in Northern Albania. CEED Albania provides entrepreneurs with business know-how through its entrepreneur support programs and connects participants to mentors and a community of entrepreneurs that can help take their small businesses to the next level.
For this project, CEED Albania leveraged the experience that comes with years of working in the Albanian SME ecosystem and access to a community of established entrepreneurs in the country. CEED Albania Director, Deni Guga, notes that one of the challenges of the project was “training farmers to think like business people.”
CEED’s programming focuses on working with established business to hone and develop their model in order to scale their success and create new high-quality jobs. To date, CEED Albania has spent over 5,000 hours training farmers, and these farms have created 90 new jobs for the community. CEED Albania accredits its connection to the local ecosystem of entrepreneurs for the success of the project. Given that agrotourism is currently the country’s most popular form of tourism, Guga believes this model could and should be replicated in the future. In the meantime, CEED Albania is looking forward to refocusing its efforts on supporting and growing its network of entrepreneurs in all sectors in Albania.