E Jona is a café social business start-up that aims to promote the social integration of Albanian youths with disabilities into the local community. E Jona, developed by Suela and her partners, won the Albanian Social Business Competition run by Yunus Social Business, against more than 50 other competitors. This loan will help Suela finance the start-up costs of the E Jona coffee shop and provide the business with working capital for its first four months of operation.
Around 137,000 people in Albania are affected by disability, which amounts to approximately 4.3% of the country’s population. One of the many struggles faced by young people with disabilities in Albania is the inability to lead a normal social life due to restricted access to social places that appropriately accommodate their needs. Public locations, such as cinemas, cafés, museums, restaurants and parks often have steps and other entry barriers in Albania.
Suela wants to create a space where young people with disabilities can have opportunities to work, easily and comfortably socialize with friends and enjoy cultural activities. Furthermore, she wishes to foster the spirit of inclusion and to create an opportunity for non-disabled people to appreciate how joyful, inspiring and unique the life of a disabled person can be. Suela envisions that the space will become host to a unique atmosphere for exchanging skills and experiences between disabled and non-disabled visitors.
E Jona will be a café in Tirana, the capital city of Albania. The café will be easily accessible to its visitors, have a light and friendly atmosphere and host an exciting program of cultural and entertainment events. E Jona will target both disabled and non-disabled young people, offering a range of attractions such as the display of artwork and craftwork, musical performances, theatre evenings, jewelry making training, sign language and braille courses, etc. The café will serve cakes, cookies, sandwiches and other light snacks, as well as a range of barista coffees, teas and soft drinks.
With a range of exciting events, competitive prices and quality food and drinks, E Jona hopes to rise above competing coffee shops in Tirana and prove that it is not just a café for disabled people, but an exciting venue that is open to all.
Furthermore, the shop will employ six young people with disabilities to work as managers, bartenders, waiters and helpers. The profits earned by E Jona will be reinvested into improving the program of events at the café.
As the first rent payment for the shop has already been paid, Suela is excited to open the doors to her café as soon as possible. Suela appreciates the time you took to read about E Jona. By lending to her business, you will help create an exciting place for Albanian youth, with or without disabilities, to work, interact and spend time together and make an impression on each other’s lives.
About Yunus Social Business (YSB)
Co-founded by Nobel Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus, Yunus Social Business (YSB) , is the international implementation arm for social business, headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany. Its primary activity is to initiate and manage Social Business Incubator Funds that create livelihoods and employment opportunities in vulnerable and underserved communities by supporting market-orientated and self-sustainable social businesses that are designed to address a pressing social need.
YSB is raising funds for its social businesses on Kiva. Because large amounts of credit are required, some social business loans will be raised only partially on Kiva, with the rest of the money coming from other investors in YSB.
A loan of $49,950 helped E Jona to start up a café in Tirana catered to Albanian youth with disabilities, providing them with a friendly environment in which to work, socialize and showcase artistic and musical talents.