During the week of 7 October, Crazy Town launched its activities in the EU for Innovation project in Tirana, Albania. The project serves to boost the Albanian startup and innovation ecosystem and is led by GIZ from Germany.

In the next six months Crazy Town will organize a series of hackathons and a concluding bootcamp to bring together Albanian universities, students and startups in solving real-life challenges formulated by industry and government.

The project is also relevant for Finland. Crazy Town members will have the opportunity to visit Albania via a ”startup-in-residence” program. Finns can also join the Dutch, Swiss and Austrian industry, who are in investing in Albania, to benefit from the economic growth and emerging startup talent of Albania. Our team’s visit to Tirana gave us a chance to see the potential first hand.

Mikko Korpela and Toni Pienonen from Crazy Town are in charge of the implementation of the hackatons. Joining them in overall design and delivery is Marko Seppä from Global Enabler. Marko was invited to join as team leader thanks to his relevant global experience in business creation. Global Enabler is a Crazy Town Tampere member and this shared mission is a great example of Crazy Town co-creation in practice. We build teams over organizational boundaries to tackle complex challenges and realize lucrative opportunities.

Our team held separate workshops for industry and academia, attended networking events and met entrepreneurs and investors one-on-one. Our visit resulted in three learning points:

  • Co-creation is a “people game” everywhere, but particularly in Albania. One has to invest time to build trust and understand the local context: ”Love the problem first, not the solution”.
  • Eagerness to develop talent is evident in Albania, but so is also concern for loss of talent due to vast emigration. There is increasing awareness of the need for change to keep talent home.
  • With her 300 days of sunshine, Tirana has potential to become the European hotspot for startup nomads and freelancers looking for hangout options closer to home than the Far East

We look forward to building on our findings, to achieving tangible results in the upcoming hackathons and to facilitating for startup-in-residence visits from Finland to Albania.

More info on project: Mikko Korpela, +358 400 499 242, mikko.korpela@crazytown.fi