Women entrepreneurs need more opportunities to realize their potential

Women entrepreneurs need more opportunities to realize their potential

SARAJEVO, November 19 (FENA) – Women entrepreneurs in Bosnia and Herzegovina still face an array of difficulties in founding and running their businesses, but joint cooperation can open new possibilities to realize their full potential. This is the conclusion of the policy dialogue „Support to women entrepreneurs in BiH: Fostering enabling environment” that was held today in Sarajevo, on the occasion of Women Entrepreneurship Day.

The main goal of the event was to create a platform to discuss women entrepreneurship in a strategic manner with all relevant decision-makers and stakeholders, in order to diagnose areas of improvement and what can be done through joint efforts by launching an Advisory Board for women entrepreneurship in BiH.

Keynote speeches were made by H.E. Matt Field, British ambassador to BiH, and David Saunders, UN Women BiH representative.

“COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on an already very low number of women-owned businesses in the country. The UK is clear that women’s economic empowerment should be central in the post-pandemic recovery period. That is why the Embassy is supporting and financing this important initiative led by UN Women in BiH. The road to economic recovery is best served by an inclusive approach for both women and men. We need partnership and strategy in BiH that will enable women’s full active participation in the economy – only then will building back better become a reality,” said H.E. Matt Field, British ambassador to BiH.

“Women entrepreneurs face major challenges. UN Women seeks to reduce these barriers, to improve job security and decent work. Improved income security gives women the choice to invest how they choose: in a child’s education, their own businesses or in the family home. Through coordination, an Advisory Board of women entrepreneurs will help advance solutions to help address these issues and help us all take further steps towards economic equality and opportunity. This dialogue is a step in the right direction,” said David Saunders, UN Women BiH representative.

After the keynote speeches, Dr. Maja Arslanagić Kalajdžić, from the School of Economics and Business, University of Sarajevo, talked about the current state of measures and policies related to women’s economic empowerment in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She shared the key findings and conclusions from the studies on women’s economic empowerment and resilience of women-led businesses which the Economic Institute conducted in the last year. Two working sessions were also held, the first one about access to finance for women entrepreneurs, and the second about non-financial ways of support to women entrepreneurs. The sessions were held in parallel and facilitated by experts Dajana Džindo, Goran Dodig, Dragana Kokot and Rasim Tulumović.

Participants of both sessions agreed that both financial and non-financial support to women entrepreneurs are of utmost importance. The right approach would be to lead parallel processes in order to secure adequate conditions and foster an enabling environment for women-led businesses. A crucial part of this process is the involvement of all relevant stakeholders: decision-makers on all levels, relevant institutions, local CSOs, and the international community, in creating preconditions for women entrepreneurs to realize their full potential in the labor market.

The event was closed by Amna Muharemović, Deputy Head of UN Women BiH, who introduced the participants with the intention of forming the Advisory Board for Women Entrepreneurship in Bosnia and Herzegovina, its planned composition and scope of work. All participants were invited to express their interest in joining the Advisory Board, which is to be officially launched at the next policy dialogue, to be held in February 2022.

The event was organized by UN Women, as a part of the project “Women’s Economic Empowerment in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Rebuilding better”, supported by the Government of the United Kingdom, stated the UN Women in BiH.