Rritje Albania/Competitive Enterprise Development Project, funded by USAID, increased economic opportunity for Albania’s labor force, entrepreneurs, and business community. The project targeted the garment and footwear, information and communications technology, and tourism industries to strengthen trade and investment capacity, increase enterprise productivity, and improve workforce development.
To implement the project, Chemonics used a demand-driven approach of reaching out to small- and medium-sized enterprises in non-agriculture industries within specific municipalities, identifying specific constraints that prevent growth, and supporting long-term development of the private sector. To these ends, the project provided a mix of long- and short-term technical assistance, training, and targeted performance grants, as well as helped firms gain access to finance.
As part of the program, Chemonics hired two local professors from Polytechnic University, who delivered productivity workshops alongside expatriate experts and incorporated this methodology into the curriculum for undergraduate and graduate students.
Addtionally, in 2010, the project cooperated with USAID’s Regional Competitiveness Initiative and six other USAID projects to participate in the National Geographic Supplement Initiative. The English-language supplement, a section in the National Geographic Traveler magazine, reached almost 230,000 European households and captured and publicized the heritage and culture of Albania as a tourist destination.
- 141 companies were directly assisted and recorded an overall 51 percent increase in total sales over their annual baseline, and also saw a 5 percent increase in jobs
- 73 hotels received the project-developed Authentic Albania Quality Mark - Albania's only standardized system for evaluating the quality of tourist accommodations
- Established new career development offices at five large universities, which provide students with career counseling, internships, and help with job placement
- Project-led collaboration between Albania's Polytechnic University of Tirana, three vocational education training schools and local garment companies helped create long-term relationships to reduce the workforce supply and demand gap that has constrained industry competitiveness
- The "Bring Your Own Brand" programs provided a blueprint for vertical value chain expansion to achieve greater profit margins and reduce market risks by helping 10 garment and 11 footwear manufacturers to source and develop their own brand collections and negotiate with clients in new markets
To learn more, read the Final Report here.
Project Duration: 2009 - 2014