The largest nationwide innovation competition “Albanian ICT Awards” opens its doors in its 12th year

On Thursday February 29, 2024, ALBICT Association opened the 12th edition of Albanian ICT Awards, a nationwide competition in technology, with the presence of more than 100 people from academia, business, public administration, entrepreneurship, innovation and whole tech community in Albania, Kosovo, and North Macedonia.

A testament of the transformative power of creativity and ingenuity, proving that with courage, creativity and persistence, everything is possible, for 12 years hundreds of founders, innovators and dreamers took the stage of Albanian ICT Awards.

By creating an environment where innovation can thrive and manifest itself and by bringing together the brightest minds from technology industry, this competition organized by ALBICT Association and ICTSmedia gathers every year more than 100 founders, young entrepreneurs, young enthusiasts, and experts from different fields of technology from all Albanian speaking regions. More than 300 events, 2500 candidates and 200 finalists have joined this competition since the very first edition.

Cultivating an open-minded spirit and a willingness to embrace ideas, Albanian ICT Awards identified itself with the mission of finding and discovering innovative solutions that would take the Albanian-wide ecosystem of technology and innovation to new heights.

Minister of Economy, Culture and Innovation, Mr. Blendi Gonxhe, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Business Climate, Ms. Delina Ibrahimaj, Deputy Mayor of Tirana Ms. Keti

 Luarasi and co-founder of Albanian ICT Awards Mr. Kushtrim Shala joined this event.

Director of Strategies and Innovation at Raiffeisen Bank Ms. Elona Llaci, Director of EU4Innovation Mr. Sebastian Berwagner, Representative of UNICEF Albania Mr. Murat Sahin and Regional Coordinator of EBRD Ms. Ardiola Hristic participated during the opening ceremony of Albanian ICT Awards 12th edition.

Albanian ICT Awards is the home of a community of creatives and visionaries, each one of them led by a mutual passion for innovation and progress. The insatiable curiosity and boundless creativity of each of the winners, finalists and contestants of this competition have served as a catalyst for transformative change in the ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Albanian-speaking regions over the years.

We started it as a dream 12 years ago. And the dream was to look somewhere, not so far as ICT Awards has reached, but to look somewhere when there was not ecosystem and when there were not many actors who would come together to contribute at a scene to celebrate and why not invest in a startup, find a talented people and here we are today,” said co-founder of ICT Awards Mr. Kushtrim Shala.

He said that between us today there are people from Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovc, from Montenegro, North Macedonia and Kosovo and the purpose of this event was to bring together the most beautiful minds of our nation.

Regarding the award received for DPSHTRR, I feel more responsible that we were appreciated by this community,” said the Minister of Economy, Culture and Innovation Mr. Blendi Gonxhe.

He said that we will fight to build Europe here. “Within 2030 we aim to become a champion of innovation and digitalization in the region.”

12 years ago, maybe this competition looked strange, maybe it did not have the same big audience, but as you referred to startups and young people, to achieve great things, you have to look far away,” said Minister of Entrepreneurship and Business Climate Ms. Delina Ibrahimaj.

Speaking about ICT development for young people, deputy mayor of Tirana Ms. Keti Luarasi said that the Pyramid with “Tumo” has 3500 students 12-18 years old learning from ICT programs.

Director of Strategies and Innovation at Raiffeisen Bank affirmed the support of her institution for Albanian ICT Awards, as it has happened for 12 straight years.

We as a bank has been one of the first supporters of ICT Awards and for 12 years we continued. Innovation is part of our culture,” said Ms. Erjona Llaci.

We are happy that for the second year in a row we continue the partnership with ICTSmedia for the ICT Awards, which we consider an excellent cooperation platform for identifying startups with high development potential, as the main group that we intend to include in our Star Venture program The EBRD’s Star Venture program, launched in the Western Balkan countries in 2019, funded by the EU – Western Balkans Enterprise Development & Innovation Facility (EDIF) and Luxembourg, helps develop innovative start-ups with high development potential by providing assistance technical adapted according to the specific needs of startup companies by engaging local and international experts and mentors, as well as supporting accelerators and main partners of the ecosystem to increase their capacities,” said the EBRD Regional Coordinator, Mrs. Ardiola Hristic.

What you are doing is amazing. You are giving young people and families hope, that there is a chance to achieve your potential in Albania. 12 years, dozens of years,” said Representative of UNICEF Albania Mr. Murat Sahin.

We are very proud to be partners of Albanian ICT Awards in the 12th edition. We are eagerly waiting for the main event on May 31. It is one of the best events we support every year with the focus on tech sector,” said Director of EU4Innovation, Mr. Sebastian Berwagner.

This event was also greeted by the representative of the Albanian ICT Awards jury, Mrs. Linda Shomo who said that ICT will be the “home” of the youth while encouraging them to apply and not to be discouraged or give up on their innovative dream.

The 12th edition of Albanian ICT Awards awaits applications in 7 different categories: ICT Innovation of the Year, ICT Startup of the Year, ICT Diploma of the Year, ICT Rising Star of the Year up to 16 years old, ICT Rising Star of the Year 16-21 years old, Cyber Security and Nominee Form.

Applications remain opened until March 31, 2024 23:59 and are available only in online form by visiting the website: https://ictawards.org/2023/.

In addition to media exposure, the winning projects are rewarded with prizes of respective categories, prizes and support from partners and sponsors, scholarships, trainings, networking, unique promotions, internships and exposure in front of a broad community of founders, entrepreneurs and successful investors.

Once the applications are closed, the evaluation process begins with phases, from creating a short list of candidates to presenting in person in front of the jury of Albanian ICT Awards in Tirana and Pristina, thus paving the way for Gala Evening final which will take place on May 31, 2024.

And as the fruits of the Albanian ICT Awards began to materialize over the years, this competition stood at the forefront of a journey of innovation, a beacon of inspiration and opportunity for generations to come.

Sponsors and partners

The 12th edition of Albanian ICT Awards comes with the precious support of Diamond sponsors Raiffeisen Invest, EU for Innovation, Albvision, UNICEF; Platinium sponsors Dev.al, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development through Star Venture Program financed by Enterprise Development Innovation Fund (EDIF) and Luxemburg, Albsoft Engineering; Gold sponsors Soft&Solution, Baboon, Facilization, Digit Sapiens, TBU, Unioni i Bashkive Shqiptare në Rajon; Silver sponsors EasyPay, 3i Solutions, Armundia Factory, AUK, SEEUTechPark.

This event is supported by media coverage of Euronews, News24, Shqip.com, PCWorld.al and CIO.al.

Partners

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