Diaspora into Albania


Anita Likmeta is the second generation of Albanians in the diaspora. She has lived and studied mostly in Italy, and has as much love for Albania as her parents. Focused on technology startups and the fashion field it is fully involved in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation. She wants to bring this feeling to Albania as well.

Finally, together with a group of young Albanians who have lived and studied in Italy and who have invested in Albania, she has become an ambassador of the United Nations Migration Agency (IOM) and the Connect Albania program for the diaspora, inviting Albanians of Diaspora to become development agents of their country. The Diaspora can invest in Albania itself, or encourage foreign entrepreneurs.

What are your current commitments? What are you currently leading or assisting on?

For me, 2020 has been an important year: I have been working in the digital field for years and I am certainly lucky because the Covid-19 crisis has been an advantage for my sector. And this is demonstrated by the fact that during the summer of 2020 with Coderblock, the Italian startup that deals with virtual environments and of which I am a Partner and Advisor, we closed a round of investments of over 250K. Moreover, during this pandemic, I followed the start of a project of mine called TheAnsware, an online media where I interview personalities from different sectors and where we face the most difficult issues compared to the status quo we are experiencing in the world.

What are your future projects and how much have they been influenced by Covid? 

My future projects are related to startups and I do not hide the fact that I want to invest more in Albania. I take this interview to invite young people to write to me about their proposals. It would be very interesting if synergies arose, such as a Hub dedicated to startups with the State University of Tirana. I want to be a bridge for future young Albanian entrepreneurs by easing them on their way. 

How has your work and that of the companies you assist changed because of Covid? What have they lost and what have they gained from this situation? 

As I mentioned, my sector has benefited from the Covid crisis, as we have closed a full pandemic investment round as well as increased the number of partners in all startups where I am a Partner and Advisor.

What has most influenced your self-development? 

To be honest I have a degree in Philosophy and it was after my studies that I felt the need, or perhaps my calling, to do business. Living in Europe as a migrant in these 22 very long years, it became clear to me that my generation was not focused on concrete goals. The failure of the West lies precisely here, namely the lack of a joint project. Above all, if you do not know what you want, how can you claim it ?! 

Even though you grew up in different European countries, mainly in Italy, you still have a great love for Albania. What motivates you? 

Albania is my homeland, now I have another one, Italy, which has allowed me to grow, get an education and become the woman and entrepreneur I am today. Albania is a wonderful country that deserves to know its cultural, social, and industrial renaissance. And what better time than now ?! The pandemic can be a great opportunity for the benefit of foreign companies or Albanians in the diaspora who are either living abroad or who decide to return and invest in the territory.

What is Connect Albania and why did you decide to support it? 

IOM in Albania has introduced Connect Albania, a new program for increasing investments in Albania. Connect Albania Program will engage Development Agents members of the Albanian Diaspora worldwide, with a special focus, in its first phase, on the Albanian Diaspora living in Italy, taking into account that the IOM Diaspora Program in Albania was funded by the Italian Development Cooperation Agency. Through this mechanism, the Albanian diaspora will attract foreign investment in their country. In addition, Connect Albania has established the Connect Albania Program Office under the Albanian Diaspora Business Chamber (ADBC) in Tirana, to support Development Agents and through them, potential foreign investors and diaspora investors. The Connect Albania Program Office serves as a support desk / front desk for members of the diaspora and foreign investment. It provides legal, sectoral, and other required information regarding the steps and procedures for setting up a new business in Albania, to facilitate the first access of investors to the Albanian market.

So opportunity is created and structured; what we need to do is obey our inner voice. Wherever we are, our inner voice always calls us. It seeks our home, our country. Although I live in Italy, I have chosen to invest in my country and be an ambassador for the development of Albania, supporting the Connect Albania program. I think that each of us can be an ambassador of his country, a bridge between the country where he lives and Albania. 

What do you plan to do in this regard? Do you think that you can bring any fashion company or technology startup to Albania? Do you plan to invest in Albania yourself? 

For me, it is an honor and a privilege to have been chosen as an ambassador for Connect Albania by IOM - the UN Agency for Migration, because it allows me to be a voice for my homeland. My goal is to sensitize Italian and Albanian entrepreneurs so that they choose Albania to create their own companies. I strongly believe that Albania can represent a great opportunity for our European Partners. Albania is a middle point between East and West and deserves to rediscover that historical center, on a cultural level and above all economic level.

Why do you think the diaspora should invest in Albania? 

We Albanians are an ethnic minority in the world and the contribution of the Albanian Diaspora is essential at this historic moment. My invitation to all Albanian citizens around the world to fight for a common goal is that of giving Albania and Albanians the opportunity to grow and develop companies capable of attracting foreign investment. It is not a dream, I believe a lot, in reality, I believe in the possibility of cooperation for a greater good: to restore dignity in our country and to start building something strong for future generations. 

What message do you have for Diaspora, Albania? What about the young generation who continue to think about leaving Albania? 

I hope that this global crisis can lead us to reflect on the importance of adopting solutions aimed at improving our lives, re-evaluating relations. I hope that this historic moment will be able to unite us and remind us of our starting point. I have always been convinced that people are the true value of companies and so I ask myself and I ask you: is not it time to believe and start together? I want to close this interview with a quote from Victor Hugo who wrote: " No bad grass or bad people. There are only bad producers. ”My message to Albanians in the diaspora is gathered in these words: be the good farmer of our land.

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