UN Women, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, organized the national conference on “Social Entrepreneurship and Green Economy in Albania”. The one-day conference’s headline was informing and encouraging civil society, youth, disadvantaged groups, as well as Albanian women and girls’ integration in social entrepreneurship initiatives and programs.
The main focus of this activity was introducing the best and most successful European practices, and invigorating and informing stakeholders through dialog platforms with successful European social enterprises.
Ms. Merita Xhafaj, General Director at the Ministry of Health and Social Protection stated in her opening remarks that the Albanian Government aims to support social enterprises in the country, with an eye to vulnerable groups’ integration through their employment to such enterprises. “Social enterprises will be financially supported for the first time by the state. 30 percent of employees in social enterprises will belong to vulnerable groups.”, -stated Ms. Xhafaj.
The UN Women Representative, Mr. Giuseppe Belsito declared that this conference and experience exchange was so close to people and participants’ needs.
Mr. Brian Williams, the UN Resident Coordinator in Albania highlighted in his opening remarks that: The Albanian Government's investment level in social protection must increase, because we are yet quite far away from aspiring European Standards.”
Successful European social enterprises representatives, state authorities, partners and donors, civil society organizations, experts and academics were among conference participants. The ultimate aim was to establish a dialog platform on promoting a social enterprises and green economy friendly environment in Albania.
During the forum with national and international experts, the latest theories currently being discussed at the global level, such as innovation in social and circular economy, and entrepreneurship as a social eco-innovation tool were presented.
Concrete examples of best European models on social enterprises and their impact on marginalized groups in countries like Greece, Romania, Italy and Spain were shared with the audience. Among the hottest topics was the Italian example on how many social enterprises and start-ups had managed to receive financial resources from the state upon the adoption of the law on organized crime assets’ confiscation.
For quite a while now, UN Women along with civil society organizations has carried out a series of activities as part of the Social Enterprises Initiative (NIS-Work and Hope) which aims at informing and training such organizations on the new law on social enterprises.