21 September 2015
The organization Gratë në Biznes in partnership with NGOs, SHE-ERA and with the support of the Centre of Southeastern Europe for Teaching Entrepreneurship (SEECEL) from Zagreb, organized the Conference on the theme: "Women Entrepreneurs – Engine for job creation in South Eastern Europe " Also at the conference were presented best practices for doing business in the context of Kosovo. The conference was held on 21 September, in the Sirius hotel in Pristina.
The purpose of this conference was to present the results of the regional project "Women Entrepreneurs - Engine for job creation in South Eastern Europe", which was implemented during 2012-2015. The project was implemented by SEECEL (South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning), GTF (Gender Task Force), and the RCC (Regional Cooperation Council).
The main goal of this project has been to promote women's entrepreneurship in South Eastern European countries, involving public and private sector, promotion of best practices in women's entrepreneurship in line with European laws and Regulations for Business
(Small Businesss Act - SBA) and the establishment and strengthening of cooperation of national and regional networks and entrepreneurship women's associations.
In the conference were presented information’s about training modules, which were developed by a group of women entrepreneurs from 9 above mentioned countries, which are translated into the 9 languages of the 9 countries, participating in the project. Also during the conference there were broadcasted documentaries that brought more information’s on the project and best practices of women entrepreneurs in Kosovo.
The conference was attended by the representative of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, representatives of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, of the Republic of Kosovo and representatives of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, who addressed the topic of women entrepreneurship in Kosovo in their speeches.
At the beginning to the conference Majlinda Mazelliu, deputy director of Gratë në Biznes, presented statistics on women entrepreneurship in Kosovo and the region and underlined the great role that women have to the country’s economic development.
Hamide Latifi, executive director of the NGO "Gratë në Biznes" -Kosovo, presented the project "Women Entrepreneurs – Engine for job creation in the South Eastern Europe", the best women entrepreneurs - Practice of doing business. She stressed that in the field of promoting women's entrepreneurship in Eastern Europe leads Croatia, which has already drafted national strategy for women's entrepreneurship, followed by Serbia and Montenegro. She emphasized that the potential of women in the field of entrepreneurship is an opportunity for growth and sustainable economic development.
Mirlinda Kusari - Purrini, executive director of the organization SHE - ERA, presented the process of the project and assessment of the needs of women entrepreneurs and indicators.
Xhemajl Syla, Head of Division for Business Support and Regional Development, SME Supprt Agency of Kosovo, within the MTI to Kosovo, said that the Ministry of Trade and Industry is aware that without the implementation of the Small Business Act and without policies in place in compliance with SBA, and their implementation Kosovo would not be able to become member of European Union. This also includes a increasing the participation of women's businesses in Kosovo. He also added that for Kosovo to fulfill the economic criteria should be evaluated with four plus, which means that most of the policies that are designed in accordance with the Small Business Act, should be in the phase of implementation or completed with measured results. In the years 2012 - 2015, the number of registered businesses with women owners ranges from 15-17%.
Also in his speech Syla emphasized that Kosovo has no plans to develop Women’s National Strategy for entrepreneurship of women, but that women's needs in the field of entrepreneurship will be integrated into the national entrepreneurship strategy.
EBRD national programe manger, Leonora Kusari, highlighted the problems faced by women entrepreneurs, such as: access to finance, management, market ... She stressed that the participation of women in grants is still small.
During the conference the participants had the opportunity to see two documentary films: one which showed the process of the project while the second documentary brought for the viewers best practices of the women entrepreneurs of doing business in Kosovo.
Gezime Rexhepi - Çollaku, owner and manager of the company ‘IP Bardha’, Syzane Aliu, Director and co-owner of the company ‘MGIC Ice’, and Shpresa Hana, owner and manager of the ‘Hotel President’, brought the participants of the conference best practices of doing business in Kosovo in the fields where they operate as well as the difficulties they face.
In debate participants asked questions for panelists on the future steps of the actins to support and encourage women entrepreneurs in Kosovo.
The conference was attended by about 70 participants.