Leading women in business: Albania

By Edmond  Alla

Leading women in business: Albania

#IWD19: Rafaela Rica, CEO of Albania’s Iceberg Communication 

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This is one of a series of articles published in the run up to International Women’s Day 2019 and celebrating our partners who are also leading women in business.

Rafaela Rica, CEO of Albania’s Iceberg Communication, founded the business in 1999 at the age of 23.

The company has now grown to permanently employ 21 people and provides advertising, media and public relations support to a growing portfolio of well-known brands, including international names such as Deloitte Albania, Statkraft and Samsung.

The EBRD helped the company with an advisory project to define an ambitious business and investment plan and to develop internally its professional marketing function.

This was complemented by access to finance under the EBRD’s Women in Business programme from Intesa Sanpaolo Bank. Within a year, Iceberg’s turnover had increased 87 percent and productivity by 70 percent

“For me, it has always been important to share my experiences to encourage other young women in business in Albania. This is particularly true for the tech sector and for start-ups, where the gender gap can feel even stronger.”

Rafaela volunteers as a mentor for several start-ups as well as for women-led businesses in her country and internationally. She was nominated for an award as Mentor of the Year 2018 as part of the Yunus Social Business Balkans programme. She is currently doing her PhD with a research focus is on technology-driven women entrepreneurship and gender gap in the Western Balkans.

Knowing that hands-on exposure is often the best teacher, Iceberg provides a range of opportunities for students to join the company as interns, getting direct experience in the range of advertising, marketing, PR and the other functions that Iceberg provides.  

She takes being a role model very seriously in terms of the company’s position in the local community, sponsoring a wide range of non-governmental organisations supporting children’s health and well-being and fighting homelessness and homophobia.

Iceberg Communication is one of the women-led businesses supported by the EBRD’s Women in Business Programme in the Western Balkans. The Programme had provided finance and know-how to women-led businesses to over 5,000 women entrepreneurs in the region to date. The Programme is funded by Italy, Luxembourg, Sweden and the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund.

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