The Idea that Changed a Woman's Life
By Rozeta Tase
Albanian Daily News
Published September 25, 2017
A guide was needed to reach Mrs. Shkurte Goci shop. Although positioned in one of the most popular and populated neighborhoods of the capital, in 'Don Bosko' area, the road turns and unpaved streets made it difficult to reach and nearly impossible to remember it.
But all those who are interested in traditional Albanian clothing and wish to buy or rent them for a special event, know very well where to go. The road turns or the streets labyrinths are absolutely not a problem for them. The product is all that matters at the end.
The shop is small, but overfilled with every Albanian region's history which conveys a large and diverse historic culture through the traditional clothes.
You may find everything in this shop, from kilt, traditional moccasins and clothes of every Albanian region from North to South. Everything is carefully realized through the hands of Shkurte, who takes care of the slightest detail related to each regional motive's authenticity.
During a brief conversation, often confused and not used to media spotlights Shkurte narrates her efforts to survive as the head of household while struggling to raise her children.
Her husband perished while fulfilling his duty and she was left alone with not many choices. She had to solve things out, at least for the children's sake.
And it seems that she managed to do so.
Shkurte Goci, is one of the 18 beneficiaries of the "Women's Entrepreneurial Fund" for 2016 by the Municipality of Tirana. She has been trained to realize her business idea and be a self-employed woman who with this monetary assistance may manage to set up a business and look forward.
Some 18 women opened or enlarged their business during 2016 thanks to the "Women's Entrepreneurial Fund" set up by Tirana Municipality.
UN Women supported the municipality by providing assistance in drafting an 'Operational Guide' which was of big help in project's implementation, its methodology, management, criteria, steps that needed to be taken etc.
The purpose of this initiative was to support women in small enterprises by increasing their involvement in the social-economic life of the country, increasing their employment, and improving their family life. UN Women brought a foreign expert who held a meeting with all groups of interest in the municipality and beyond this institution and defined the path to be followed in selecting the benefiting projects and the areas where investments for the women were mostly needed.
The expert provided by UN Women, with the Swedish government's support, was consulted with the World Bank to look out the best experiences in other countries for similar initiatives. At the end of a few weeks' work the allocation of an ALL 6 Million fund by the Municipality's budget was proposed during the Municipal Council meeting while the Councilwomen's Alliance worked with other counselors in the parties they represented in order to gain maximal support of this project during the voting.
Some 43 women applied to start a business or to empower their current business following the invitation to apply for this fund. The presented ideas were reviewed by a commission that included two foreign experts.
The proposals' selection diminished to 24 the number of best ideas for the businesses. The Swiss and German agencies, Swiss-Contact and GIZ, supported by UN Women and Swedish government provided logistic assistance and specialized trainings. The selected applicants were trained for business management, financial knowledge and the marketing or branding strategies development.
Some 18 business plans were finally selected from a total of 24 obtaining a financial endorsement from ALL 280.000 to ALL 400.000.

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