What can still be written about an innovative ecosystem that is constantly expanding?
A lot in fact! For example, the fact that soon we will have the first Albanian law on Startups.
The initiators of the bill – the Minister of Finance and Economy and the Minister of State for Entrepreneurship – probably shared the same line of thought with the CEO of StartupBlink, Eli David when they took the initiative to draft it.
“Local entrepreneurs are talented enough to create magic. Make sure your infrastructure to support their ecosystem is ready for them. ”
We quoted David from StartupBlink’s latest report on the global Startup ecosystem because inter alia an exclusive chapter is dedicated to Albania.
What do the findings from the report indicate?
Startups enjoy tremendous support from the public and private sector, although the ecosystem of startups in Albania was ranked 78th globally, losing 6 places compared to 2020. The authors of the report explain this downgrade as another negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Going back where we left off: Do Startups need this law?
The startup ecosystem in Albania is growing significantly – and as with any other form of societies – it was time for state actors to come up with a bill to regulate the way young entrepreneurs do business.
The bill itself, the adoption of which, will meet one of the objectives of the National Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation 2017-2022. Also, Albania will be listed as one of the implementing states of the European Union Business Act, aligning the European principles in its domestic legislation.
This is the right approach to follow in a situation where the EU is one of the biggest supporters of the startup ecosystem in Albania. 7.5 million euros is the European fund for the transformation of Tirana into an innovative center.
What is it about?
Startup ecosystems need an incentive to expand. Current initiatives by young entrepreneurs are supported, however the purpose is to increase their numbers on a national level, so “other great minds” will be driven to bring their innovative embryos to life. .
Therefore, the Ministers considered this draft law as the right tool to combat the lack of these initiatives. A legally regulated environment is without exception a safe ground for any venture.
The draft law aims to create an appropriate legal and institutional framework for the establishment and development of Startups which bring innovation in every field for economic development.
What is a Startup?
A startup might be any subject in the capacity of a legal entity or natural person, solely and united, that conceives and acts in order to launch and develop a new and unique business model, product and service, with a growth potential, fast and practical implementation, to significantly improve existing business models, products and services.
- Natural person (national or foreigner)
- Legal entity (national or foreign)
- Digital nomad
These entities receive the status of a ‘startup’ at the moment of filing a self-declaration in the unique electronic register of startups and facilitators.
A startup enters the “incubation” phase – which lasts for 24 consecutive months – from the moment its founder files the self-declaration in the register of startups.
Incubation is the process of supporting, preparing, transforming an idea into a business model and developing an innovative startup, in its initial stage.
It is needed to say that the registration and relationship of startups and facilitators with the ecosystem and the support scheme of startups and facilitators is carried out based on the principles of powerlessness and zero fees in receiving services.
Startup facilitators are various actors of the ecosystem that provide support programs and services for startups, including, but not limited to:
- Event organizers
- Research organizations
- Higher education institutions
- Technology and innovation center
- Provider of premises and work equipment
- Provider of assistance throughout business development
- Providers of legal, financial or business consulting services.
Startups and their facilitators are registered in a unique Register, which is created and administered in the quality of a states’ database. As such, it contains data of registered startups and facilitators.
Effects of Registration
Startups and their Facilitators are provided respectively with a unique identification number and a passport in the form of an electronic document.
- For Startups – Startup Passport
- For Facilitators – Facilitator Passport
Legal Counseling – One-Stop-Shop
This service will be provided free of charge by the responsible structures under the supervision of the Minister of State for Entrepreneurship, and aims to provide the founders on the adequate legal framework in the following areas:
- Safety and health at the workplace;
- Registration in the commercial register;
- Commercial activity of startups;
- Fiscal and tax liabilities after the incubation period;
- Intellectual property, civil and commercial rights;
- Registration of patents, trademarks and service marks, industrial designs and intellectual property, after the incubation period.
Registered startups will be financially supported with budget funds in the form of grants, as well as from other sources, following a competitive and transparent selection process.
In order for a startup to be a beneficiary of a grant it should meet the following conditions:
- To support innovation;
- To support initiatives with a positive impact on the environment;
- To aim for the empowerment of women entrepreneurs;
- To support social inclusion, diversity and social impact.
The criteria for the competition phase and the establishment of an appraisal commission will be determined by Decisions of the Council of Ministers.
In a situation where Tirana is the only city in Albania known for the startup ecosystem, we can hopefully reach the conclusion that the adoption of this law will foster the innovative spirit in other entrepreneurs from every city in Albania.