On September 26, 2019, Creative Business Solutions (CBS) held its first annual event entitled ‘Growth Together’. The event was aimed at the introduction and launch of five innovative digital platforms designed by CBS as a connecting bridge for businesses and joint enterprises. The event was attended by 300 participants, including some of CBS’s strategic partners from USAID, EU, World Bank, GIZ, SIDA, and others.
Also in attendance were high ranking officials from second tier banks, financial institutions, experts, donors, investors and bankers keen to strengthen partnerships and take advantage of these platforms for further business development and additional projects.
These digital products set up by CBS and its partners have had an impact on the growth of 3,000 businesses with a revenue capital of 43 million USD or 100,000 USD in revenues for each of the partner businesses. Furthermore, the products have boosted investments and delivered new job openings aimed at sustainable development for these companies.
In his remarks, the founder and CEO of CBS, Enio Jaço, welcomed all participants and underlined the importance of partnerships in such projects.
“This is one of the most crucial moments that our organization has witnessed in the last five years. We are not here to give a presentation of our products. We are here today to launch cooperation and partnerships for the future. Our platforms are already active and this represents a major change for CBS. We began by designing products that offer sustainable solutions. Today we are open to sharing these products with everyone that is interested in increasing investment in their business activities,” he said.
The platforms were presented by the managers who were part of their creation and who supervise the daily activities as well as deliver new ideas for expansion.
AgroWeb.org – Two new informative websites
AgroWeb is an online portal for healthy living and its content reaches over 2 million people per month. The platform has over 327,000 followers on Facebook and is the most popular page for Albanians in the country and abroad.
Suela Ruseti, Communications Manager at CBS, delivered the news and said that two new websites aim to boost quality of living and health care in the country.
“Being a reliable partner, it’s with great joy that we share some of our future plans with you. We will open two new websites: Health and Smart Life by AgroWeb. Our consumers have repeatedly called for more content involving serious health issues. As a result, the Health platform will be launched in 2020. Smart Life on the other hand will target a more urban audience which is interested in everyday issues. Smart Life will be launched at the end of 2019,” Ruseti said.
LORES, digital loan referral system
LORES was launched in 2016. It provides a system whereby data from agribusinesses can be collected, processed and sent to second tier banks in a structural electronic format to ease lending decision-making. LORES’s success was sealed in the first three months after its launch. Five of Albania’s biggest banks endorsed the platform immediately. Through LORES, they disbursed 6.5 million USD in 215 loans. An additional 13 million USD are expected to be disbursed. Non-performing loans in the banking sector stand at 13 percent, however, in LORES’s case the NPL ratio is less than 1 percent.
During the introduction of LORES, Mr Jaço made three important announcements for the platform’s community, including the launch of LORES 2.0.
“Firstly, with LORES 2.0 clients do not need to meet with a CBS adviser, but can apply directly on the system. Secondly, LORES will be open for referral to external experts as well. They will earn commissions for every successful loan. We are already in a pilot project with 7 selected experts. Thirdly, LORES will offer bankers a financial novelty which will reduce risks for loans and provide cheaper fees for clients,” Jaço said, thanking all experts that have worked with LORES and continue to do so.
IntoAlbania – Information and Transactions. A one-stop platform for tourists.
IntoAlbania is a digital one-of-a-kind product that provides authentic experiences for foreigners in Albania. Tourists who want to visit Albania can use the platform to buy airline tickets, book a hotel or hostel, discover the right attractions, restaurants, bars, tours, etc.
Alma Nathanali, project manager, said that in its one-and-a-half years, IntoAlbania has gathered half a million visitors to its page and online app. Nearly 45,000 tourists who used the platform have visited Albania and over 100 small and medium enterprises use the platform for their transactions.
“I am very happy that together with our IntoAlbania team we have managed to set up IntoAlbania.com and its online app, available on any smartphone. Both products have been designed to reveal Albania like never before by setting up digital bridges between the authentic Albania and the global traveller interested in a real experience. The platform brought together two very important aspects: information and transaction which today marks the DNA of IntoAlbania,” she said.
In his remarks, Çelik Nimani, CEO of Frakton, a Software Development Company, provided more details about E-Commerce, one of the most important elements of the website.
“All of the technology traits have been developed one-by-one. IntoAlbania’s E-Commerce functions, which are the most complex part of the work we did, has enabled local businesses to innovate their internal operations, such as the digital management of tours, airline fares and accomodation. Furthermore, this has brought Albanian businesses and foreign clients closer. Because of this, they can plan up to the last detail prior to their visit to Albania and receive all guarantees for more opportunities,” he said.
AgroTrade – A connecting bridge between producers and foreign buyers
Liana Suleymanova, New Business Development Director at CBS, announced the AgroTrade platform, one of the most innovative in Albania, dedicated to the startup of an online system for trade exchanges of agribusinesses between Albania and foreign markets.
In her speech, Ms Suleymanova explained that AgroTrade is an online B2B platform that connects businesses in agriculture with regional and international markets via 360° trade integrated procedures.
“This is an innovative and unique platform in the region. It has great potential for the increase of regional trade in agricultural produce. AgroTrade is a connecting bridge between producers and foreign buyers. Its objective is to ease communication, promote offers to producers and reduce waiting periods for buyers interested in finding products in their right quantities and prices. AgroTrade is a unique platform that facilitates trade between local producers and European buyers. Local merchants can set up their profiles on the platform and thus pave the way to exports and expansion of their markets. The platform is growing by the day with various profiles of sellers and buyers. AgroTrade aims to become a regional leader in enabling the expansion of export companies in international markets,” Suleymanova said.
Impact Investing Initiative – CBS’s latest innovative product.
At the conclusion of the event, the CEO of CBS, Enio Jaço, presented the latest product that CBS will deliver soon. The CBS experts are working hard to launch the Impact Investing Initiative. Jaço said that the initiative is aimed at investments that have a positive social, financial and environmental impact. This is a new concept not only in Albania, but in the world as well.
“This investment method may be unknown in Albania or in the region, but we are dealing with a global phenomenon that emerged 12 years ago. Ever since 2007, this investment method has been transformed into a 500 billion USD industry. We aim to bring this to Albania and to the region. Some of the most important aspects of this initiative is that it will set up a fund to provide sufficient capital for such investments. Instead of loans or grants, the capital will be offered as a limited and investment-oriented fund within the company. We will consider the option of financing SMEs who want to invest in sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, tourism, health, education, etc.We will help companies to get grants or technical assistance.
The I3 is expected to kick off at the end of 2020 or at the beginning of 2021,” Jaço concluded.