Christian Business Impacting Community in Albania BAM-Minded Women Open New Dental Clinic in Tirana
In Tirana, Albania, two young women have realized their dream of opening a dental office. Dr. Frida Rrasa is a pediatric dentist and orthodontist, and Dr. Elsa Alia is an oral surgeon, and together they have founded Integra Dental Clinic. The business is thriving, but more than that, the two women are using their skills to reach out to the poor, rural areas around them.
The "Integra" in the clinic name is not just a coincidence. Early on, the women asked Integra Ventures to partner with them in the new business. IVUSA Board members Joe Feth and Terry Williams, along with Peter Tashev, Integra's Vice President for International SME Development, serve as part of the clinic's advisory board. Joe's background as CEO of a major healthcare network is invaluable to the women. In addition, Bob Quinn, IVUSA Board Treasurer, connected the women with a dentist in Atlanta, and she has already been a great encouragement to Elsa and Frida. Peter facilitates meetings between the three of them and anticipates that Integra Dental will continue to benefit from her expertise. Peter also meets with the clinic owners every three months and they have been producing regular financial reports. The results? They hit the break-even point early on--quite an accomplishment for a new business--and have already begun repaying their start-up loan provided by Integra.
But more than their financial success, we are encouraged by their heart for the community. With their "business as mission" mindset, these two women are just the type of entrepreneurs Integra seeks to partner with. Both are committed Christians and are passionate about helping others who need their professional services, as well as sharing their faith. Elsa has served as coordinator for Dental Missions in Albania for a number of years and has served with YWAM in several cities. She also initiated the Albanian Christian Dentists Association. Together, Elsa and Frida are committed to making regular ministry trips to villages in rural Albania where dental care is hard to find. Their dream is to begin setting up small dental practices in villages so that children can get the care they need and be introduced to the gospel as well.
In Albania's cities, dentists are readily available, though finding one who focuses on serving and caring for patients is not always easy. However, in rural and mountainous areas, dental services are almost nonexistent, and most people cannot afford them. Albania is still one of Europe's poorest nations, and poverty is 50 percent higher in rural areas. Many still struggle to provide food and clothing for their families, let alone dental services
Integra is honored to come alongside these two women and support them not only in their business endeavor, but also in their outreach to the community.
Visit the Integra Dental Clinic website here. To learn more about Integra's work with entrepreneurs in Central and Eastern Europe follow this link.