Supporting micro businesses forge ahead

UNDP albania
4 min readMar 10, 2022


Rudina, a mother of three has been a cook since forever. As soon as you step in her small restaurant, besides the smell of the delicious food, you get good vibes and plenty of love. You can feel that even when you talk with her partner in business and life, Ilir, who proudly tells everyone how special Rudina is.

Rudina at her restaurant

Like many, Rudina and her husband went to Greece in search for a better life. Ten years after they decided to return to Albania and open up a small business. Easier said than done! The small fruit and vegetable store they opened, didn’t help them afford life in Tirana, despite their hard work. Yet, they hoped for a better life.

“The best cook in the world!” — these were the heart-felt words that Rudina would hear every day from her children. This pushed her towards a new adventure: opening her own restaurant. The intensive cooking courses she undertook helped her be better prepared for her new initiative.

The business of Rudina and Ilir is located in the area of ​​Astir, Municipality of Tirana, and was simply known as “Gjelltore”.

Rudina gets personalized assistance from experts

“When we opened the restaurant we didn’t quite know what was ahead of us. Running a business under normal circumstances has its share of obstacles and stress. Only three months after we started, the devastating earthquake of 2019 caused severe damages in the area. We were forced to close business. It was a shock for all of us, something that we will never forget”-says Rudina.

As if the earthquake was not enough, COVID struck, which only made things worse. “The pandemic took a heavy toll on our business. We couldn’t even offer delivery service and we were forced to close it due to COVID-imposed measures undertaken by the government. We were both unemployed, but we still had to pay the rent, taxes, and insurance.”

This is how UNDP “adopted” In Motion after the devastating earthquake that hit Albania in 2019

One day Rudina heard about In Motion Programme. She learned that the programme is created to help micro-businesses, heavily affected by the earthquake and the pandemic with grants for business equipment, modernization of the commercial image and more. Moreover she learned of the personalized assistance offered aiming to strengthen their management skills. And all that was required from businesses was for them to participate in the capacity building sessions. Both Ilir and Rudina thought this was a brilliant opportunity.

They both attended group trainings and individual meetings with business and commercial image experts. “ We were eager to learn as much as we could out of the group training and individual consulting. It was a fantastic learning experience for us. We consider the participation in this programme as a great opportunity and vital for our business continuation.” says Rudina.

Rudina and Ilir at their restaurant

“I am very grateful for the assistance provided by In Motion. This is helping us take our business to the next level. The earthquake and the pandemic put us in a tight corner and we often thought to close it down. In Motion is the reason why we are still open.”

After many sessions of training and personalized assistance from the business and the commercial image expert, now Rudina’s business has a new name and brand. It is called: “Te Rudi”.

Also, in addition to visual changes, Rudina and her husband have also been provided with new equipment which is helping them provide better services to their clients and improve their business.

During training sessions for participating businesses

The business of Rudina and Ilir is not the only one that has benefited from #InMotion. 34 other businesses in the area of ​​Astir, Municipality of Tirana have also joined the programme.

In Motion in Astir is part of the Economic Recovery and Resilience Programme (ERR), which is implemented by UNDP and supported by the Municipality of Tirana. ERR is funded by the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of the Netherlands.

If you ever go to Astir, do look for a restaurant called “te Rudi”. You will be served with love.