Albanian ICT Awards is a pan-Albanian contest in technology founded in 2012 to help, support, and promote individuals, business leaders, leading experts, tech enthusiasts, successful women in technology, startups, businesses, and companies operating in the field of information and technology. The first event of its kind, Albanian ICT Awards for nearly a decade had successfully fulfilled its mission to identify, reward, and promote those who played an important role and gave a distinguished contribution towards the expansion of the Information and Communication Technology sector in Albania. Every spring, the 4-month long quest of Albanian ICT Awards turns into a showcase of innovation spreading the word to universities, innovation hubs, and the whole startup community from Tirana to Prishtina, Skopje to Ulcinj, and from Vlora to Presevo. The contribution of several years of ICT Awards is translated into the Albanian ecosystem in the form of innovation based on reliability, skills, and practices that enable every young person, professional, enthusiast, entrepreneur, or company not only to identify the obstacles faced by the community but also to overcome them through innovative solutions which are revealed in every edition of this competition.
What was the challenge?
At Albanian ICT Awards compete some of the brightest minds, involved in innovation and technology. It started with the first edition in 2012 and immediately gained attention from the whole community with more than 1000 project applications at ICT Awards, and more than 120 of them were rewarded in prizes through the years. The Albanian start-up ecosystem is nascent despite it being an important ingredient of the innovation ecosystem. ICT Awards was a materialization of a desire to support local innovations and initiatives in technology and push Albanian-speaking countries towards the new startup and innovation-driven economy. Developed in a format that not only makes the Albanian society aware of the concept of innovation by organizing meetings, presentations, and events in schools, universities, libraries, and innovation spaces during a 3-month journey, startups that earned success at the Albanian ICT Awards today speak the language of the digital economy and the transformation of different sectors through innovation.
What is the solution?
Albanian ICT Awards is a 4-month long journey from Spring to Summer of each year beginning with application opening and concluding on Gala Night with the winners announcement. Applications are divided into several categories emphasizing the inclusion of different industries and sectors of Albanian innovation and startup ecosystem meanwhile giving everyone the chance to find themselves at Albanian ICT Awards such as:
Innovation of the Year: The concept of "innovation" is applicable to any application that implements a solution that can be considered as something new in the Albanian market.
Startup of the Year: Finalists selected in this category must excel in one of the industries like digital, scientific, creative, or social innovation.
Diploma of the Year: Rewards students studying in the field of informatics, computer science, or derivative fields, who have successfully finalized their project.
Rising Star: Rewards young people, teenagers or children, younger than 18 years old, who have demonstrated their talent in the field of ICT and their special skills through the development of specific successful projects.
Female in ICT: Rewards all Albanian women and girls for their achievements, their individual accomplishments, or representation in various teams by offering their great and distinguished contribution.
Public Service of the Year: Rewards best practices, innovations, advancement of platforms, projects, applications, or solutions implemented in public administration and Government.
Cyber Security: Rewards IT professionals, network experts, databases, and applications who have managed to contribute to increasing the level of information security or provide protection against cyber-attacks.
After the applications deadline, a shortlisted batch of candidates is invited to present in front of the Jury. The Gala Night gathers more than 200 people curious about what is about to come from envelopes that hold jury’s final word. Every year more than 100 candidates begin their quest for the final prizes of the Albanian ICT Awards. Around 30+ presentations and meetings with students take place each year in 15+ cities in Albania, Kosovo, and the Republic of North Macedonia. Albanian ICT Awards have been rewarded with the Golden Bee Award from the Office of Prime Minister of Albania. Gjirafa.com, Softmogul, Baboon, Zana, Solaborate, iGenius, Monochain are some amongst many success stories and today well-established companies and part of Albanian ICT Awards journey. Since its establishment, ICT Awards has witnessed 1000+ valuable Albanian works and efforts, success stories that seek to convey the transformation that has taken place within them in the Albanian society and rewarded every year by a body of professionals selected in the field of technology and innovation such as the Albanian ICT Awards Jury. The jury is independent of the competition organizers and composed of prominent technology figures, experts, and distinguished professionals. Covid-19 posed a challenge for Albanian ICT Awards during the last 2 years forcing us to innovate too and the 9th edition was completely organized as a virtual event. Next year ICTSmedia will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the ICT Awards paving the way for a decade of technology speaking Albanian language. Every year this event is supported by major companies and private and public institutions and universities of Albania with big stakeholders such as Raiffeisen Bank, Dritan Hoxha Foundation, Albvision, Huawei, Tirana Municipality, Dev.al, Albsoft, Baboon, AUK, Metropolitan University, 3i Solution, Soft&Solution, Ritech, and Facilization.