Aida Zubčević, the owner of the Faveda plant store chain from BiH, was chosen as the environmental entrepreneur of the year, Valentina Taseva, the owner of the IT company Semos Education from Northern Macedonia, was elected creative entrepreneur, and Dragan Čali, the owner of the Saint Di consulting company from Serbia, was named entrepreneur of the year in tourism and catering.
The owner of Craft Business from Montenegro, Pakize Pajazitaj, was named Roma Entrepreneur of the Year, Arta Šehu Zaimi, owner of the company that provides educational services for children Labbox from Kosovo, was named startup entrepreneur, and Blerina Ago, owner of Active Albania from Albania, was elected Young Entrepreneur.
At the gathering in Tirana, the beginning of the Regional Network of Women in Entrepreneurship of the Western Balkans was made official, the goal of which is to introduce women who are not employed to the labor market, and to improve conditions for those who already work.
RCC Secretary General Majlinda Bregu said today that the consequences of the war in Ukraine, such as rising prices, inflation and disruptions in the supply chain, will hit the poor and women the hardest.
Russia, she added, exports mainly gas and oil to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Northern Macedonia, which puts the region at great risk.
“That is why all forms of deepening regional economic integration are now becoming even more important. With this initiative, we recognize the untapped potential of women in the region. The role of women in building our economies must not be underestimated,” she said. the other is unemployed.
Every fourth employer in the region is a woman, and when it comes to the highest positions in companies, every ninth person is a woman.
“More women are needed in the labor market in order to increase growth and prevent disasters. Because the Western Balkans lose about 18 percent of GDP every year due to the gender gap in the labor market,” she added.
Bregu assessed that inclusive regional cooperation is important and that women need access to capital and resources.
Marija Risteska, Svetlana Copic, Maja Nadezdic, Amra Hasimbegovic, Zana Tabaku, Arijana Mulic and Vesna Miceva Todorovska, now successful entrepreneurs from the Western Balkans, told the conference about their development path and obstacles they faced such as discrimination based on gender, year, education.
They assessed that it is especially difficult for young entrepreneurs whose results and proposals are not valued enough because their ability and lack of experience are questioned.
They say that they experienced discrimination because of their appearance, because, as they say, in patriarchal circles, it is believed that a beautiful woman should only get married well, not develop her business, and the male environment puts pressure on young girls to start dressing. and act like men to be respected.
According to the RCC, only half of women in the Western Balkans are economically active compared to 70% of men. The employment rate for women in the region is 41.6 percent, while the employment rate for men is 59.7 percent.
At the same time, the unemployment rate for young women is 39 percent. The share of women in senior and middle management positions in the region ranges from 17.4 to 41.3 percent, and only in 15.3 percent of companies in the Western Balkans are women in leading positions.
On average, only one in five companies in the Western Balkans is owned or co-owned by women, the statement said, noting that if women were more involved in business, the region’s GDP would grow by five per cent.
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