The competition for the prestigious technology awards, Albanian ICT Awards, concluded its 11th chapter in Tirana at the gala evening in the presence of high-level representatives from state institutions, successful businesses and startups, academics, professionals from various fields, youth and enthusiasts of technology and innovation in Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and the Diaspora.
The 11th edition of ICT Awards concluded its three-month journey at the Gala Evening on May 26, 2023, at Arka Art Hotel, where the following guests were invited: Minister of State for the protection of Entrepreneurship: Ms. Edona Bilali, Minister of State for Youth and Children: Ms. Bora Muzhaqi, Minister of Health: Ms. Ogerta Manastirliu, Deputy Minister of Economy of Kosovo: Mr. Getoar Mjeku, and Director of the Technology Development Fund in North Macedonia: Mr. Festim Halili.
In his opening speech, the co-founder of Albanian ICT Awards, Mr. Kushtrim Shala, described the gala evening as an event that brings together all Albanian lands. On the international stage of the competition, he also revealed a surprise kept for the grand finale: "Out of six categories, today we will have a seventh surprise category."
The chairman of the jury, Mr. Gjergji Guri, expressed his satisfaction with the inspiration and outstanding results that characterize the vibrant community of technology and innovation in Albanian-speaking regions. "We were surprised by their awareness of various issues and their creativity in finding interesting solutions in different fields such as gaming, fintech, internet of things, and many others."
As a guest at the gala evening, Minister of State for for the protection of Entrepreneurship, Ms. Edona Bilali, shared an important announcement for the ecosystem. "After months of collaboration with the ecosystem, Albania will now have a dedicated agency for startups."
In her welcoming speech, Minister of State for Youth and Children, Ms. Bora Muzhaqi, said that this event brings together not only Albanians in Albania but also Albanians living around the world.
On the stage of ICT Awards, Deputy Minister of Economy of Kosovo, Mr. Getoar Mjeku, expressed deep gratitude for this event in his opening speech. "Tonight, we encourage young people to leverage their talents through technological development to improve our lives."
Minister of Health, Ms. Ogerta Manastirliu, stated that she gladly accepted to join this event due to the role that technology and innovation play in all aspects of our lives, particularly in the healthcare system.
The award distribution began with the Diploma of the Year category, where Arbena Musa, Orseda Cara, and Synim Selimi competed. The winner was Synim Selimi with the CyberNFT project, a research on how a decentralized, independent, and autonomous system of cyber interventions would look like.
In the Youth in ICT 16-21 category, Geart Ferhati triumphed with the I-Vote.al project, competing against Erdajt Sopjani, Lum Vokshi, Idriz Mirena, and Sidi Koka. I-Vote.al is an electronic voting platform that aims to digitize the electoral process for student governments.
Jueda Avdillari and her project Umbrella were announced as the winners of the Youth in ICT award up to 16 years old, competing against two other finalists, Orhidea Ollogu and Circuit Breakers. "Umbrella" is an application in the Albanian language built with Adalo, aiming to fight addiction, find motivation, and interact with others to seek healing.
The Startup of the Year award was won by POK, an electronic payment and money transfer solution, competing against Datalix and Hottel.io. With POK, users can pay for goods and services in online and physical stores using their mobile devices.
The Innovation of the Year award went to Cardo AI and their project Equalizer, a product created for structured financial transactions, specifically for the securities market. It competed against the Platform Pegasus and Qless. Cardo AI was also rewarded with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development prize, receiving a funding of 10,000 euros in AWS services.
With over a decade of experience in the field of cybersecurity, Dr. Kamer Vishi was declared the winner of the Cybersecurity award, competing against Sense Cyber Research Center and Site Sentry. Dr. Vishi holds a Ph.D. in cybersecurity from the University of Oslo and is an author and co-author of numerous scientific research papers in this industry.
The surprise award, Education Technology Project, was given to Lirik Rexhepi and his project Pupill, a platform that aims to digitize the teaching and learning process. In this category, Eris Lazri with Mamir.al and Arjanita Livadhi with Studit Academy also competed.
During the gala evening, acknowledgments were given for special contributions to: Innovation Academy, Original Albanian, Beez Studio, Leart Qefalia, Meridian Miftari, Loreta Pajaziti, Erion Çano, and Edmond Tupja.
The 11th edition of the Albanian ICT Awards concluded its journey that started on March 10th in Tirana and brought together over 150 candidates from Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and the Diaspora.
Among the 50 finalists in seven different application categories, 21 of them were awarded the major technology prizes.
Since the opening of this edition, more than 25 meetings have been held with educational institutions, creative centers, innovation spaces, municipalities, and higher state institutions in Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and the Presheva Valley.
Sponsors and partners: The 11th edition of the Albanian ICT Awards comes with the valuable support of Diamond sponsors such as Raiffeisen Invest, Union of Albanian Municipalities and Communes, Albvision; Platinum sponsors such as Dev.al, Vodafone Albania, and Albsoft; Gold sponsors such as Soft&Solutions, Digit Sapiens, Baboon, Facilization, Vigan, and Silver sponsors such as EasyPay, 3i Solutions, Imbus, Armundia Factory.
Albanian ICT Awards has an extensive partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development through the Star Venture Program funded by the Enterprise Development Innovation Fund (EDIF) and Luxembourg, AUK, SEEU Tech Park, and UNICEF Albania.
Winners of the Albanian ICT Awards XI: ICT Innovation of the Year: Cardo AI with the Equalizer project ICT Startup of the Year: POK ICT Diploma of the Year: Synim Selimi with the CyberNFT project Youth in ICT up to 16 years old: Jueda Avdillari with the Umbrella project Youth in ICT 16-21 years old: Geart Ferhati with the I-Vote.al project Education Technology Project: Lirik Rexhepi with Pupill Cyber Security: Dr. Kamer Vishi