Albanian baker claims Italy foreign entrepreneur award

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 29, 2017 09:57

Story Highlights

  • The 44-year-old Albanian who runs a bakery in Rome has recently claimed the MoneyGram Profit Growth Award for his La Spiga d'Oro, a bakery with a catering service. Dhrami is one of the many success stories of Albanians in Italy where a community of about half a million of Albanians has been living and working since the early 1990s when the first waves of Albanians fled to the neighbouring in overcrowded ferryboats from Durres Port after almost five decades of isolation under communism

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spigaTIRANA, June 29 – Italy-based Albanian businessman Leart Dhrami has been awarded as one of the best foreign entrepreneurs living and running successful businesses in Italy.

The 44-year-old Albanian who runs a bakery in Rome has recently claimed the MoneyGram Profit Growth Award for his La Spiga d’Oro, a bakery with a catering service.

Dhrami is one of the many success stories of Albanians in Italy where a community of about half a million of Albanians has been living and working since the early 1990s when the first waves of Albanians fled to the neighbouring in overcrowded ferryboats from Durres Port after almost five decades of isolation under communism.

Twenty-five years following the first exodus, Albanians in Italy now make up the second largest non-EU migrant numbers in Italy and are one of the best well-integrated communities in the neighbouring country across the Adriatic. Their contribution to the Albanian economy has been huge, being a key source of remittances and know how.

“I learned this job by watching and asking. I never gave up despite the difficulties. Despite the nightlong work and all the stamina, I always looked forward,” Dhrami says as quoted by Shqiptari i Italise (Albanian in Italy) portal.

His work starts at 8:30 p.m. to finish early in the morning.

“I handled everything with the support of people who work with me and my family. At the end of the day, you are no longer upset when you have your child hugging and telling you ‘I love you daddy,'” he says.

Born in Tirana, Dhrami is a 44-year-old businessman who first visited Italy in 1989 when the communist regime and the exodus to Italy had not started yet. With the country in total isolation, he was able to visit Italy only because his parents worked at the Albanian embassy in Rome.

spiga 2By summer 1992, when the communist regime had collapsed and his parents no longer worked at the embassy, he had to make a tough decision. He had the option to either return to Albania and attend military academy or stay in Italy.

“I didn’t want to go back to Albania, I didn’t want to attend that university only because of the circumstances, I wanted to stay in Italy. For me, the most important thing was finding a job and being independent so that I could go my own way,” he says.

“In Italy I started working as an assistant to a baker providing catering. But during summer, when the baker was on holiday, I had to handle everything on my own. I picked everything up by watching and asking and when I learned that I could make better pizzas than the baker, I understood I had a talent,” he adds.

Leart Dhrami worked for several bakeries until 2006 when he started his own business with “La Spiga d’Oro” bakery in Rome’s Fidene neighborhood.

La Spiga d’Oro is a bakery offering bread, pizzas, desserts made by highly qualified artisans.

Dhrami says the Italy recession was hard even for his bakery business.

“In 2013, despite the economic difficulties I decided to invest on a small bar. There’s nothing better than a cappuccino accompanied by a fresh brioche that just comes out of the oven,” says Leart.

“But this was not enough to make the business grow. I was thinking, I had to go reach customers if they didn’t come to my shop. I started cooperating with some important hotels in Rome after I had them try my products. I didn’t give up to any difficulty,” he adds.

One out of 16 Albanians residing in Italy has started their own business, mainly as self-employed in the construction industry, Albanian media based in Italy report citing Italy’s Unioncamere chamber of commerce.

Data shows some 30,700 companies, mainly small businesses, in Italy were owned by Albanians at the end of 2014 when some 502,000 Albanians were reported holding a residence permit in the neighboring Adriatic country, making it the key host of Albanian migrants since the early 1990s, soon after the first exodus following the collapse of the communist regime.

Albania has several famous singers, ballet dancers, chefs and football players in Italy, the country’s main trading partner and one of the top investors.

 

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 29, 2017 09:57