Uplift 5th edition Demo Day

The culminating event of the 5th edition of Uplift Albania, the Demo Day held on April 23, 2024, marked the final leg of a transformative journey for 12 start-ups. This event marked the end of a transformative journey for 12 start-ups and served as both an endpoint and a new beginning for their entrepreneurial endeavors. In the setting of the “Jordan Misja” Artistic Lyceum in Tirana, the Demo Day unfolded, showcasing the culmination of tireless endeavors, ingenious concepts, and remarkable talents.

Distinguished guests graced the occasion, including Mr. Hubert Perr, Head of Cooperation from the Delegation of the European Union in Albania; Mr. Karlfried Bergner, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Albania; Mr. Carsten Schmitz-Hoffmann, General Director of GIZ for Europe, the Mediterranean, and Central Asia; Mr. Sergio Alias, Diplomat and First Secretary of the Italian Embassy in Albania; and Mr. Murat Sahin, UNICEF Albania Representative.

Reflecting on the journey, Mr. Kushtrim Shala, co-founder of ICTSlab, expressed satisfaction with the four-month-long endeavor, acknowledging the arduous yet rewarding path taken by the participating start-ups. The sentiment was echoed by Mr. Sebastian Berwanger, project manager of EU for Innovation.

“We are very proud to support such an event,” said Mr. Berwanger.

Mr. Hubert Perr, Head of Cooperation from the Delegation of the European Union in Albania, emphasized, “For me, this event is the best example of what we should do, and in addition to working with the Albanian government, we should work with young people who have beautiful ideas and help them make these ideas a reality.”

“Programs like Uplift are very important in building start-ups that come from past incubation and support programs. We are proud to help open new doors for Albanian start-ups,” said the German Ambassador to Albania, Mr. Karlfried Bergner, addressing the start-ups of Uplift Albania.

Mr. Carsten Schmitz-Hoffmann, General Manager of GIZ for Europe, the Mediterranean, and Central Asia, expressed his hope, stating, “I hope that one of the start-ups of this Uplift cohort will grow to a level that has a global impact.”

“Uplift Albania is a testament to success. We believe that education is the key to empowerment and emancipation while investing in research is the key to sustainable development,” said the First Secretary of the Italian Embassy in Albania, Mr. Sergio Alias.

The representative of UNICEF Albania, Mr. Murat Sahin said that “Uplift Albania is a true story of innovation Made in Albania.”

The start-ups selected for the Uplift Albania acceleration program spanned various industries including Artificial Intelligence, fintech, fashion, e-commerce, agriculture, tourism, and cybersecurity. These start-ups embarked on a rigorous 16-week program, guided by local and international experts, aimed at refining their business models and strategies.

The Demo Day began with the session “Investor Connect – Speed Dating with Investors,” during which start-ups presented for 7 minutes in front of invited donors and investors. Among them were Julien Coustaury, Eli Zhabevska, Mergim Cahani, Kamen Bankovski, Igor Madzov, Ardian Hoxha, Rezart Lahi, and Lorenzo Ait.

At the end of the pitches and Q&A sessions, prizes worth 12,000 euros were awarded to the top three winners: Nullius in Verba, Blite, and Patoko.

A study trip supported by UNICEF within the “Qëndro” project funded by the Italian government will be organized on May 8-11, 2024, in Lithuania. Nine start-ups – Patoko, FloraTech, Kungul App, Cyber Morfosis, Blite, Marigo, BeachMaster, Rumio, and Niv – were invited to this trip which includes investment readiness workshops.

Meanwhile, Beach Master will benefit financially from the amount of 3,000 euros in credits on the Gjirafa Travel platform.

Uplift Albania, an initiative empowered by the EU for Innovation and implemented by ICTSlab as part of the “Qëndro” project, received support from various entities including the Italian Government, UNICEF, Deloitte, SwissEP, Star Venture, and others. This accelerator program, tailored for early-stage start-ups, has emerged as a trailblazer in nurturing innovative ventures in Albania.

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