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Destil: To Change is to Innovate

Destil is much more than a coworking space—it is a place and organization that encourage creative entrepreneurs to grow. In the summer of 2021, Destil is moving into a new building and starts a new chapter in their development.

Destil is both a creative hub—a place gathering professionals and talents in the creative industries—and a community hub—an open and accessible place that offers services and learning opportunities to entrepreneurs and local stakeholders.

In their own words, Destil is "a culture-driven urban regeneration project that promotes collaboration between arts, entrepreneurship, technology, and social innovation."

As a holistic organization, Destil was founded in 2014 in Tirana. In the early years, the organization's main task was positioning itself in the local market and building a solid brand. It was essential for entrepreneurs, artists, creatives, and innovators in the city to get to know the space and the crew in Destil and to feel at home there.

Over the years, Destil became a crucial bridge between creatives and entrepreneurs. As an organization that learns, Destil developed the capacity to establish a dialogue between different creative and entrepreneurial communities, enabling them to absorb, share, and transform each other's contents and influences in various fields. This new approach at collaboration brought many benefits to the local economy.

But after five years of fruitful work, Destil faced an immense challenge: the organization's premises were overtaken by a restaurant. The organization losing its trademark location, forced the Destil management team to be very creative and proactive to keep the community they gathered around them. Over the next couple of months, local cafés and bars became venues for the events, workshops, and performances that Destil organized.

Another challenge emerged with the global COVID-19 pandemic but the team was already resilient enough and prepared to react quickly. They moved all activities online, and when the conditions allowed for it, other coworking spaces (especially Coolab) helped Destil continue to cater to the needs of their community. Thus, with a proactive approach and peer support, Destil overcame yet another challenge.

Luckily, our story has a happy development. In summer 2021, Destil moved into a new space located on Buleardi Zogu Pare, in the old Italian Style Palazzino from 1938, known as" Gazeta Bashkimi." It includes 1.600 m2 of renovated space over five floors dedicated to exhibitions, performances, workshops, conferences, and working areas.

Destil has gone through many changes in the past seven years, making the best of it. Today, it’s back on track, much more robust and in a larger space, with an even bigger community that stood by it in troubled times.

Any change, big or small, that makes a difference in someone's life, that's innovation for us!

Sonila Abdalli, co-founder of Destil

The future will undoubtedly bring new and exciting challenges, but the team behind Destil will surely figure out how to face them. To keep pace, Destil is investing its energy, competencies, and resources in its community, offering a wide variety of programs, such as Innovative Education for Young Entrepreneurs and the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs.

Swiss EP will continue to support Destil's efforts in making Albanian society more innovative, creative, entrepreneurial, and open to collaboration between different fields. We may not prevent changes and challenges, but we can offer support and solutions in times of crisis.