Finance and investors for young innovative entrepreneurs in Albania
“I always wanted to do something for Albania and it was a pleasure when I received the invitation from the British Embassy of Tirana to deliver a training for supporting the new ventures participating in the UK-Albania Tech Hub Programme”. This is how Dr. Endrit Kromidha, associate professor in entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Birmingham starts.
He went to the United Kingdom ten years ago for his doctoral studies after five years of work experience in Albania. Endrit prefers to be called by first name better, because as he says, nobody is that important after all.
In the training he talked about the management of finances and investors, a much welcomed topic by the participants of the Albanian Tech Hub. In particular, what raised some discussion was mentioning the top richest entrepreneurs in Albania as potential angel investors, who by definition can support young innovative entrepreneurs like the ones participating in the training.
But what was his advice in this case? Appreciating the innovative ventures, Endrit explains that “those that are very innovative in technology related fields and who are passionate about it often prefer to stay away from finances”. His message in fact is that they could and should do both. “Also, if you want to grow, you have to sacrifice a bit of ownership and full control over your business.
Usually an investor expects to have a share of the business. However, the more time and effort someone has invested in a business, the harder it is to share that with others, even when this limits growth, especially when the business starts becoming well-known”. This is one of the key challenges this training aimed to raise awareness about.
Being an academic in the United Kingdom in a higher education institution like the University of Birmingham means that most of Endrit’s time is dedicated to scientific research, the results of which are often translated into the continuous updating of the teaching materials. On the other hand, he tells us that he has a small consulting business on the side on entrepreneurship and innovation in the UK, SDG Consult, created about two years ago to maintain relationships with the business world. This has helped him in his research and teaching too.
But can we calk about entrepreneurship and innovation based only on books and scientific research?! Of course, research and publications require time, the same about the application of findings, but working with businesses through university projects or directly with them is different. “I would like that what I do as an academic has a tangible impact, is more visible, of course inspired by research and publications” he says.
For projects Endrit collaborates with colleagues not only from the United Kingdom or Albania, but also from many other countries of the world. “Today we live in a world where the top largest companies listed in S&P 500 have about 85% of their valued assets in the form or intellectual property”.
Ideas can be exchanged, transferred, and the same about collaborations. Last year Endrit organized a conference on information and communication technologies in developing countries in Tirana and a doctoral summer school in Durres in the field of technology enhanced learning, inviting international participants and collaborators.
As a researcher and consultant who travels to various countries of the world for projects, keynotes and conference presentations, he invites Albanian universities to be more open to collaboration in developing joint projects.
Tags: Endrit Kromidha, finance, innovation, angel investors, management, start-up, technology, UK Albanian Tech Hub.