Building stronger SMEs in Albania
Few entrepreneurs can claim that they have contributed to building their own country. But the Rula brothers from Albania can. As founding owners of Europa Construction, which produces metal infrastructure used in tunnels, dams, sports arenas and industrial facilities, their work has become, quite literally, part of Albania’s landscape.
When they established the company in 1995, the brothers had experience in building petrol stations and tanks. Private car ownership was booming so the two of them bought machinery and facilities and started a business building their first petrol station for a private company.
Soon demand for their business grew, especially from large foreign companies operating in Albania. Guaranteeing higher quality standards therefore became a priority. So the EBRD Small Business Support (SBS), with funding from the Netherlands, matched Europa Construction with an expert consultant to guide the company through the process of ISO certification.
Further SBS support funded by Luxembourg helped the company develop a new strategic plan. Its implementation required investment for the expansion of the workshop area and the acquisition of new technology. The clear business plan brought Europa Construction a loan from a local bank for over half of the investment needed. The ISO certification and the business plan opened up many opportunities for the firm’s future.