FACT SHEET: SmartCapital

Speeches Shim

Man attends to strawberry tunnel
SmartCapital provides enterprises with professional business plans to kick-off their business operations and raise capital.

SME’s are the engine of Albanian economy. They represent over 95% of total businesses, employing 83% of the workforce and generating 75% of country’s annual GDP. Yet, only 28% of total financing goes to SME’s – much below its potential. Many SMEs lack formal business plans or accounting records, leading to a perception of high credit risk in this vital economic segment. Though banks and financial institutions have excess liquidity, high rates of Non-Performing-Loans (NPL) limit their ability to offer credit to SMEs. In addition, the distribution of credit has been disproportionate between the urban and rural enterprises.

SmartCapital aims to Boost Economic Growth through Access to Finance and Smart Technologies to SME entrepreneurs. The 5-year program will mobilize a significant contribution of resources on a 1:3 basis, through innovative and market-based solutions. SmartCapital interventions will countrywide with attention to rural and under developed areas. Growth oriented services will be delivered through sustainable practices and a wide network of partners and beneficiaries.

Program Areas

Facilitate Access to Capital for SMEs and Municipalities

SmartCapital will facilitate access to a range of financing options while upgrading SME-s to absorb financing. While the banking sector in Albania is established, alternative financing means such as Investment capital and private equity financing is inexistent for SMEs – comprising 95% of all businesses. Through this intervention, USAID’s SmartCapital will improve access to credit for SMEs through full grant and loans application packages including detailed orientation, preparation of business plans, investment analyses for EU-IPARD and other national schemes.

Develop, Deploy and Grow Innovative Financial Technology and Trade Platform

SmartCapital will expand LORES, a loan referral platform that has facilitated more than $11.2in agriculture into a Multifunction Marketplace. LORES will transform into a Digital Lending Platform with a wider customer reach and a stronger value proposition for beneficiaries. Additionally, the project will expand AgroTrade the online matchmaking service into a fully transactional exporttrading marketplace for wholesalers and buyers. AgroTrade platform will boost local exports by making trading easier and more efficient, reducing time, effort and costs in the process.

Provide SMEs with Comprehensive Business Development Services

SmartCapital will provide start-ups and non-agro enterprises with professional business plans to kick-off their business operations and raise capital. Established SMEs will be supported with growth analysis, digital marketing, international food safety certifications and export readiness services to facilitate market penetration and grow trade to EU markets. SmartCapital will assist SMEs to obtain Brand Albania’s OriginAL certification – the national umbrella brand for authentic 100% Albanian agro-food products.

Expected Results

  • Increase Value of Investment by $33 Million
  • Directly Support 320 Enterprises with Capital Financing and Investments
  • Facilitate $22 Million in Financing
  • Create 1,500 New Jobs
  • Leverage $12 Million investments realized by beneficiaries


Name: SmartCapital
Duration: September 2016 – March 2021
Budget: $2,900,000
Implementer: Creative Business Solutions
Contact: Alma Kospiri, USAID Deputy Program Officer | akospiri@usaid.gov | +355 4 229 3537