Roundtable with Mr. Bashkim Sykja: Enhancing Competitiveness of SME-s through Innovation

May 2nd, 2013

Roundtable with Mr. Bashkim Sykja: Enhancing Competitiveness of SME-s through Innovation

Roundtable with Mr. Bashkim Sykja: Enhancing Competitiveness of SME-s through Innovation

Innovation: The conversion of a new idea into revenues and profits; “An idea that looks great in the lab and fails in the market is not an innovation”

The General Director of Competitiveness Policy Department of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy Mr. Bashkim SYKJA visited Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences of Epoka University on May 2, 2013 and discussed with the full-time members of academic staff at the Roundtable, which was organized by Faculty. He was invited to present and provide the further information about “Enhancing Competitiveness of SME-s Through Innovation” in Albania.  Mr. Sykja congratulated the initiative to organize Roundtable on “Innovation” and also thanked the Dean of Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences Prof. Dr. Güngör TURAN.

At the beginning of the discussion with the full-time members of academic staff of Faculty, Mr. Sykja made a presentation Why Business Innovation is Important? Then noted that for SME West Balkan Countries (WBC) the main advantages are still: cheap work force, low CIT and their closeness to the EU market; while technology readiness, lifelong education and encouraging innovative companies, are the basic competitive indicators of EU SME-s comparing to SME WBC.

Discussing with the full-time members of academic staff he noted that Innovation must be the central driving force for any business that wants to grow and succeed in both the short and long terms, One key point: this cannot be left only to technical experts, it must “become integral to the way you run your business – it means making innovation central to the goals, strategy, structure, systems, culture, leadership, and motivating purpose and values of your business…

Challenges of innovation:  creating new jobs; becoming more internationally competitive; boosting innovation capacities and modernizing industry to build knowledge based economy; improving trade balance through import substitution and improving living standards.

Government Challenges on Innovation:

  • Improvement of basic research infrastructure able to support sufficiently university training at three levels (BSc, MSc, PhD levels);
  • Creation of scientific excellence in key research areas for our country (Excellence Fund);
  • Education and retaining/attracting qualified people in the Albanian research system; ( brain gain programme);
  • Increased public awareness  on science, innovation and new technologies for economic development;
  • Increase public spending on research to 0.6% of GDP by 2015;
  • Increase the share of gross expenditure on R&D from foreign sources notably from the EU (FP, etc.) and international donors;
  • Improving the legal and institutional framework for research policy-making and research funding;
  • Internationalization and integration into ERA and the building of national competences;
  • Participation in EU and regional programmes: CIP/EIP; FP7; IPA 2; EDIF etc.

At the last section of the Roundtable, the full-time members of academic staff asked their questions. Answering questions he said that a key concept of the knowledge economy is that knowledge and education (often referred to as “human capital”) can be treated as one of the following to:

  • a business product, as educational and innovative intellectual product or service can be exported for high value return;
  • a productive asset.