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Transcending Borders to Scale My Business through YTILI

Written by: Keti Gjipali, 2018 YTILI Fellow

Placement city: Phoenix, Arizona

Born in Durrës, Albania, Keti Gjipali was raised in an entrepreneurial family and she was expected to study business and marketing from a young age. After graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration, Keti started a Master of Science degree in Marketing at the University of Tirana.

Following her active participation in entrepreneurship activities in Tirana and using her work experiences in different industries and media companies, Keti founded AGOG Marketing in 2016, a company that specializes in Digital Marketing. Recently, she established the Young Women Entrepreneurship Program in Albania to support other women who want to start their entrepreneurial journey. Keti is also an Associate Professor in International Business at the University of Tirana.

Keti's Headshot

Transcending Borders to Scale My Business through YTILI

I founded AGOG Marketing in 2016 as a digital marketing agency thinking it would only focus on the Albanian market. I had the right experience, background, and mindset to start the company, and everything seemed to be going smoothly from the start. For the first two years, I built a team and grew the agency’s portfolio, but something was missing. All my mentors were telling me that we had great potential to do more and grow beyond Albania, but I wasn’t sure how to do that. Therefore, I started to search for international opportunities and found the YTILI Program -- it was clearly the right opportunity for me at the right moment.

A unique opportunity to scale my company

I was selected as a YTILI Fellow in 2018and the experience completely changed my business perspective. Through YTILI, I met entrepreneurs from across Europe and the United States. I was able to learn from their points of view and discover different business models and cultures. Because of YTILI, I had the opportunity to meet with the founders of marketing agencies in the U.S. and attend the MarTech Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona. Thanks to these meetings, I learned how the U.S. market works and realized that the work my company does for Albanian businesses could be transferred to other markets. Moreover, through YTILI, I made new friends and professional contacts that I cherish and continue to collaborate with.

 Breaking into new markets

Once I was back home, my team and I opened new possibilities beyond Albania. We were ready to sign contracts with companies from other European countries and by doing this, even local companies were more attracted to our agency. Now, AGOG Marketing holds a solid position in the Albanian market and is working with international clients from all over Europe. We provide services in digital marketing strategy, content marketing, SEM/SEO, email marketing, and other services related to online promotion.

Supporting other women entrepreneurs in Albania

Because of my YTILI experience, I received financial support from the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tirana to establish the Young Women Entrepreneurship Program in Albania, a program that provides training, mentoring, and networking opportunities to support women in Albania who want to change their career path and start their entrepreneurial journey.

Bringing yourself to the next level

While the YTILI experience is different for each fellow, all of us have gained a lot from this journey. Nowadays, it is easy to follow conferences and courses virtually to learn about the market and industry trends. However, they can never replace the sense of immersion YTILI fellows experience through the program. The connections, experience, and knowledge that you gain from YTILI are so valuable. If you want to get to the next level, you need to open your mind, and this is what YTILI does to you.

The YTILI Fellowship Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by WorldChicago.

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