Italy and Albania consolidate connections between their innovation ecosystems.
The WMF International Roadshow took place on March 15th at the Maritim Hotel in Tirana, and it was a great success! The event was organized by WMF – We Make Future in collaboration with Albania Economia Magazine, Moneys Magazine and the Camera di Commercio Italiana in Albania – CCIA. The event was dedicated to creating new connections between the innovation ecosystems of Italy and Albania. The program included keynotes, success case analyses, round tables, and a startup competition that saw the best of the active and energetic Albanian innovation ecosystem compete. The three winning startups will take part in WMF, the International Fair and Festival of Technological and Digital Innovation organized by Search On Media Group, which will take place on June 15th, 16th, and 17th, 2023, in Rimini, Italy.
The event in Albania is part of the WMF – We Make Future International Roadshow project, a global journey inaugurated in 2021 with the aim of creating a bridge of international cooperation between innovation ecosystems worldwide.
The participation for the Tirana event was great, and there were many prominent institutional figures in attendance, including the Minister for the Protection of Albanian Entrepreneurship, Edona Bilali, who commented, “The future is at our doorstep, and it takes the form of technological and digital innovation, and we as a government have decided to welcome it without reservations.” Bilali continued, “That’s why we decided to join the WMF train, along with 49 other countries, the largest international event on digital innovation worldwide. I’m happy to be in the company of these energetic people and to witness their empowerment journey that will take them to Rimini in June at WMF, the International Fair and Festival of Technological and Digital Innovation. Thanks to WMF, Albania Economia, Moneys Magazine, and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Albania. A special thanks to the most innovative ambassador, Fabrizio Bucci, and to Erion [n.d.r. Veliaj, mayor of Tirana], who has transformed Tirana into an incredible digital hub recognized internationally.”
During the opening speech, Cosmano Lombardo, CEO of Search On Media Group and creator of WMF, added, “We’re happy to have brought WMF to Albania and to have connected with this vital innovation ecosystem, full of potential and projects destined to create a positive impact on the community.” Lombardo continued, “With international events, we make the WMF ecosystem available to local innovative projects to support their concrete development. In this regard, the three best startups selected here in Tirana will be with us at WMF next June, where they will meet investors, companies, and participants from all over the world. The WMF International Roadshow is a tool that operates as a bridge between several countries that together make up an Innovation Valley, where institutions, startups, and citizens work to respond to the great global challenges that await us. We’re sure that the success of this first event in Tirana will lead us to collaborate again in the future, with new events and projects.”
Among the institutions present at the event were the Italian Vice Ambassador to Albania, Luigi Mattirolo, the Mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj, the director of Tumo Center in Albania, Shqipe Berisha, and representatives of large companies such as the President of CCBS, Luca Busi, the CEO of Armundia Group, Gianluca Berghella, and the Head of Marketing Ecosystem and Operation of Huawei, Stefano Nkazi. Representatives from Search On Media Group, the organizer of WMF – We Make Future, also participated, including the Head of Global Partnership of WMF, Vito Esposito, and the Head of the WMF innovation team, Giuseppe Oppedisano. The event was hosted by Albanian presenter Blendi Salaj.
The highlight of the day was the startup competition, which saw 14 of the most promising startups in the Albanian ecosystem compete on stage by presenting their innovative projects.
The top three startups will go on to participate in WMF 2023 in Rimini on June 15th, 16th, and 17th, where they may participate in pitch sessions on the Startup Stage, have their own desk in the Startup District, the exhibition area dedicated to startups, and attend B2B meetings organized with investors from all over the world, depending on their placement.
The first-place winner was Codon, a startup that operates in the healthcare industry with cloud-based technology. The second-place winner was LekoTech, which focuses on the complete digitalization of the car industry with the aim of revolutionizing the work process. The third-place winner was ConsciESG, a fintech startup working on a platform designed to provide institutional investors with direct access to accurate ESG analysis and scores.
All three Albanian startups will have the opportunity to showcase themselves at the WMF International Fair, which in the previous edition had over 36,000 attendees from 49 countries, more than 300 exhibitors, and over 1,300 startups and investors from around the world.
We’d like to express our sincere thanks to the participating startups who showed great commitment and passion for their entrepreneurial ideas, the international jury for their valuable advice to the new businesses, and our sponsors, Armundia Group, Coca-Cola Albania, Uji i Ftohtë Tepelenë, Credins Bank, Bankers Petroleum Albania and Sisal for their strong support of our event.