Investment Council discusses about the speed of the reforms in innovation in entrepreneurship

March 23rd, 2021
Time to quickly react since not everyone can go “fast digital”?

Tirana, 23 March 2021 / The Investment Council (IC) held a virtual plenary meeting to discuss main challenges and recommendations for fostering innovation in entrepreneurship, with a focus on the governance of the ecosystem, cooperation in the context of the “quadruple helix”, access to finance, and digital economy. The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Finance and Economy, Ms Anila Denaj, and it was attended by IC members, as well as other representatives from the public and private sector, development agencies, as well as academia.

During her speech, Minister Denaj said that 2020 has proved more than ever the importance of the dialogue built on sound foundations between the public institutions and the private sector. The Minister expressed the commitment of the government during the last years in several dimensions, providing support through fiscal policies for the sector with a profit tax reduced to 5% and the commitment under the Economic Reform Program 2021-2023 with measures and budgeting for the sector. In 2021, the Minister mentioned concrete plans in this regard, such as the implementation of the broadband strategy, the introduction of innovation incentives in ARDA funds, the preparation of the new strategy on investment and business development; as well as the last step for the adoption of the Law on Innovative Start-ups.

Acknowledging the challenges, faced especially by the SMEs, the participants raised concrete recommendations regarding the speeding up of actions toward consolidation of the innovation ecosystem, increasing access to finance, building and empowering the ecosystem with equity and investments mechanisms through business angels, venture capital and equity funds. Some main proposed recommendations were related to the specificities of the innovation in the industry sector and the relevant size of the assistance, the transferring of new technologies applied abroad, the provision of fiscal incentivizing policies to promote R&D budgets within companies, training of top managers on their mentality of doing business, options for better cooperation between the business and academia, improving the ecosystem of investment funds (start-up, technology, etc.) with adequate access to finance and know-how, reversing the brain drain, completing the implementation of the justice reform to ensure investors’ confidence, bringing together all existing innovation hubs in one platform, etc.

The Investment Council conducted a study during February-March 2021, which included data & information retrieved through the consultation with important actors of the innovation ecosystem, as well as the findings of a survey conducted online with 75 companies with a focus on the challenges of the ecosystem, innovation at firm-level and access to finance. According to this study, 72% of companies confirm paying high attention to the introduction and development of innovation processes within their companies, while 86% of them are willing to cooperate with academia, considering it as moderately necessary or very necessary.

After this meeting, the consolidated recommendations will be elaborated by the Secretariat, and later submitted to the relevant institutions for consideration and follow up. Full materials of this meeting will be published in the next few weeks, in our dedicated section https://www.investment.com.al/ic-meetings/.

Investment Council is supported by the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the EBRD and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)