Every new idea that adds value to your business, makes it more efficient

or reduces cost and time. It can be a new process, a new marketing

approach, a new product or service that responds to existing challenges

in your business and is relevant for your local context.

A snapshot of the 1st Call for Proposals

What is Innovation in the context of the Challenge Fund?

– Everything that adds value to your business
– Makes it more efficient
– Reduces cost and time
– Is something new, it can be a new process, a new marketing approach, a new product / service
– Responds to existing challenges in your business
– A solution that works well in the local context where your business operates

What are we looking forward?

– The proposal MUST be innovative
– The proposal should be FEASIBLE and SUSTAINABLE
– The proposal should have SOCIAL IMPACT

Priority Sectors

– Tourism and its related industries;
– Agriculture and agro-related industries;
– Green economy including climate smart innovations and energy;
– ICT as enabling (cross-cutting) technology for various sectors.

What do we offer?

– Not just funds
– Capacity building program consisting in the delivery of a training program in doing business successfully and ensure business sustainability.
– Capacity building on the management of the sub-granting scheme.
– Mentoring support, according to the specific needs of your business, throughout the period of implementation;
– Workshops to provide opportunity for start-ups/ISOs from EU4Innovation Phase I and Challenge Fund 2023-2026 to exchange experience, share good practices and to build future partnerships.
– Promotion of the awarded start-ups in the local and international market through the production and online publication of photos and videos.

Steps of the evaluation process

The evaluation will be carried out in 3 steps: 1) Administrative check; 2) Technical Evaluation for applicants which have passed the administrative check, followed by onsite monitoring visit. 3) Pitching event, where the applicants selected from the second step will present their business ideas.

How much can you apply for?

Who can apply to the
Challenge Fund?

Lot 1: Idea and Validation stage start-ups – a founder or a team in the early stages of developing an innovative business idea (no registered entity).
Lot 2: Growth stage start-ups – a registered business entity within the first 12 months of operation from the official registration at the QKB to the date of publishing of the Call for Proposals.
Lot 3: Scale-up stage start-ups – a registered business entity within the first 13 month and 5 years of operation from the official registration of the business entity at the QKB to the date of publishing of the Call for Proposals.


10,000 €

Idea and Validation stage


20,000 €

Growth Stage


30,000 €

Scale -up Stage


Any questions?

Write to
Challenge Fund Team
[email protected]


Need assistance with your application?

Carefully read the Application Instructions published on the web page :

as well as participate in the Information Sessions for the 1st Call, according to the calendar defined in the Guideline for Applicants document.

How to apply?

Apply online:

The entire application process, evaluation, and answers to your questions will be done online, ensuring a transparent process.

Rules for Funding

– The applicant must be Albanian and non-Albanian resident and Albanian diaspora;
– Must ensure that the start-up will be registered and operate in Albania prior to the signature of the grant contract (applicable only for Lot 1)
– Must be a legal person (business entity) already established and operating in Albania (applicable only for Lots 2 and 3);
– Should not have performed registered activity for more than 5 years from the date of publication of the Call for Proposals (applicable only for Lots 2 and 3);
– Must provide minimum co-financing share of the total value of the proposed budget, in the respective %;
 Lot 1: Idea and Validation stage, min. 5% co-financing
 Lot 2: Growth stage, min. 20% co-financing
 Lot 3: Scale-up stage, min. 30% co-financing
– Be directly responsible for the preparation and implementation of the activities outlined in the application.
– Period of implementation will be no longer than 12 months.

Give the necessary time to the application!

Consider the preparation time required to submit the application. The information that you will be requested during the application will require a thorough analysis of your business, so we would suggest that you look carefully at the Guideline Document as well as the offline application forms, before completing the online application. When you fill out the online form, you have the option to save it and continue working later. When you press the SUBMIT button, your application is considered complete and CANNOT be modified.