Technical Assistance for
Civil Society Organisations

The Role of Civil Society Organizations in Developing Social Entrepreneurship in Albania

National Conference Report | Tirana, 11-12 March 2014

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In the framework of P2P Program, TACSO Albania Office in collaboration with DG ELARGEMENT, EU Delegation to Albania and the Albanian Forum of Social Enterprises organized during March 11-12, 2014 the Single Beneficiary Event with the subject: The Role of Civil Society Organizations in Developing Social Entrepreneurship in Albania.

Being aware of potentials of Social Enterprises (SE) as an innovative approach to providing services of social value, the aim of the conference was to give participants the concepts and understanding of social enterprises (SE) and also explain the benefits of SE for CSOs, public authorities and government agencies and to community/development processes.

The conference also provided participants with the opportunity to be acquainted with EU policies on Social Business and strategies for creating a favorable climate for social enterprises and social economy. The event served as a forum for discussion and introduction of different models of operations of SE in Western Europe and relevant initiatives from WB countries.

This conference was organized as a follow up of the conference “Social entrepreneurship –Have your Say”, held in January 2014 in Strasbourg, with the aim to contribute with further recommendations for a practical conceptualisation of social enterprise concepts and models within the national context. It was also a further step ahead of the support of  TACSO Albania Office which has considered the development of social enterprises (SE) as an alternative and independent economic instrument aimed at boosting the financial autonomy of CSOs.

An example to this is the facilitation and support provided to the activities of Albanian Forum of Social Enterprises as the main forum of information, advice and training for Social Enterprises in Albania. Last year, TACSO Albania Office in collaboration with the Forum of Social Enterprises organized a national conference “Another Albania, Ideas and Experiences of Social Enterprises” where CSOs representatives, experts from EU and neighboring countries, parliamentarians, representatives of local and public government discussed the situation of social enterprises in Albania by sharing best practices and pushing forward the agenda of social entrepreneurship.

The conference got together 142 participants selected through an open application process from the third sector, government institutions and business sector. Such composition generated a dynamic process with high interest for absorbing new concepts and engaging in a lively debate regarding the status and potential of social economy in Albania and relevant policies and instruments needed to stimulate such development.

Moreover, the conference succeeded to stimulate a policy dialogue between CSOs engaged in social entrepreneurship activities and the relevant government institutions holding a stake on this matter.  This was achieved thanks participation in the conference of high profile officials including the Minister of Social Welfares and Youth, the Head of Parliamentary Commission for Economic Development, Social Welfare and Trade, the deputy ministers of Economic Development, Trade and Entrepreneurship and that of European Integration.
 
At the opening session, the event was greeted by the Minister of Social Welfare and Youth, Mr. Veliaj, who introduced to participants the plans of this ministry in boasting employment opportunities and catering for marginalized groups and vulnerable strata of the population.  Mr. Veliaj emphasised also the important role social enterprises are playing in addressing social, economic and environmental changes, in fostering inclusive growth and in increasing social inclusion.

“Being aware about the potentials social enterprises offer to Albanian reality we will soon pass to the Albanian Parliament the draft law on social entrepreneurship which has been prepared in close consultation with CSO representatives and experts on this fields” – concluded his speech  minister Veliaj.

Download: National Conference Report with Annexes