23 Dec 2015. – YEAR OF SUCCESS AND DEVELOPMENT OF ABW SERBIA
Association of Business Women in Serbia welcomes the end of another year with reasons to be proud of achieved results, many realized projects and activities, all with the aim to promote women entrepreneurship. Our activities were focused on improving business conditions for SME’s through public advocacy, fostering cooperation with local associations, empowerment and strengthening of regional cooperation and through promotion and education of young women entrepreneurs.
- We signed Protocol on cooperation with Coordinating body for gender equality and Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, with the main objective to continue the good practice of implementation of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, with emphasis on the inclusion of women in the supply chain.
- Cooperation with Women’s parliamentary network was continued and our Public Advocacy Committee participated actively at the National Convent, negotiation chapter 20, for entrepreneurship and industrial policy. Recommendations of our committee were integrated in the final document.
- ABW Serbia joined Forum for development of Women’s entrepreneurship, which was established in March, by the European movementin Serbia, thus expanding the platform for public advocacy.
- Important to highlight is that ABW Serbia was identified as an organization carrying out activities regarding entrepreneurial education in the Action plan for the strategy for support to the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), entrepreneurship, which was published earlier this year.
- During 2015 ABW Serbia completed 5 projects in the field of economic empowerment of women in Serbia and region.
- Project “Service development for women’s start-up promotion”, implemented with support of the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) was a continuation of educational programs – this time especially for young women entrepreneurs. Project was implemented in 3 cycles, and the final event was Innovation competition. Participants of the program were from 3 cities: Belgrade, Subotica and Valjevo – female students/potential entrepreneurs, and women who started their business in last three years. Participation in the project gave them the opportunity to obtain skills and knowledge, learn various techniques and tools for faster and more successful start up and business development.
- The main objective of project “Inspiring Women Entrepreneurship in Serbia” was to empower leadership and entrepreneurial capacity of young women through mentoring program. The project was supported by Center for International Private Enterprises(CIPE) from Washington D.C. USA. The project started in 2014. and was realized in 5 cities (Valjevo, Cacak, Subotica, Zajecar and Belgrade).
- Project “Promotion of Women entrepreneurship in Southeast Serbia” was supported by the US Embassy in Belgrade. This project aimed to empower and widen network of ABW Serbia. The Association of Business Women in Vranje was established by the end of 2014, and in 2015. it successfully implemented many activities, both in cooperation with ABW Serbia and individually.
- Project “See my story and become an entrepreneur” was also supported by US Embassy in Belgrade. The project included a traveling exhibition in 5 cities in Serbia (Vranje, Novi Pazar, Subotica, Zajecar and Belgrade), motivational panels and workshops “To be or not to be an entrepreneur”. Project promoted success stories of women entrepreneurs from Serbia, with the goal to empower women to start up their businesses. Road show of 16 success stories was completed at the “Success Flower” award ceremony, in Opera&Theatre “Madlenianum”.
- We supported implementation of the project “Inclusion in employment” in cooperation with Youth with disabilities forum. The main objective of the project is to promote youth with disabilities employment through information, activation, informal training, working practice and building sustainable cooperation with employers. Project is realized in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis.
- Traditionally, we celebrated the International Girl’s Day and encouraged girls in Primary schools to consider entrepreneurship as a carrier option, through meetings with successful women entrepreneurs, members of ABW Serbia.
EDUCATION AND COOPERATION WITH LOCAL COMMUNITY
- In cooperation with DOBA Faculty from Maribor, we created and launched an on-line module for entrepreneurial education “Development of women entrepreneurship”. The module includes knowledge that was, through market research, recognized to be the most important for Serbian women entrepreneurs.
- ABW Serbia continued to be a reliable partner in implementation of various projects in the field of empowerment and support to women’s entrepreneurship, as it was active participant in the preparation and implementation of “Women in business” program. This program was created by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Banca Intesa.
REGIONAL AND LOCAL NETWORKING
- Networking on a regional level has marked this year. International brokerage meetings – B2B, between women entrepreneurs in the region were organized as a part of Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) project at the International conference “Women Entrepreneurs of New Age: New Opportunities for Regional Economic Revival” in Belgrade and in Budva at Adriatic Fair as well. Women entrepreneurs had the opportunity to meet and cooperate at conferences in Sarajevo and Opatija. These regional networking events were supported by Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (SEECEL).
- Networking on a national level was very important as well, and our partner association of business women “Nadezda Petrovic” hosted such event in Cacak.
- We encouraged two new initiatives for the establishment of local associations of business women in Zrenjanin and Vrsac, and worked on strengthening of other associations, such is the ABW in Vranje.
SUCCESS FLOWER 2015 AWARDS
- Association of Business Women in Serbia, for the 9th time, granted the “Success Flower” awards to the most successful women entrepreneurs in Serbia. This year, 30 candidates from Serbia were shortlisted for the award and 11 of them were awarded with the “Success Flower”.
- ABW Serbia was awarded with “Creators for Centuries” award for its contribution to women entrepreneurship development in South East Europe for 2014. Amongst 340 candidates, ABW Serbia was one of 63 laureates. The ceremony was held inMarch of 2015 in Dubrovnik. Awardees wereselected by commission of 12 members from 5 countries, and it is a part of the project – Promotion and award for the most important people for entrepreneurial development in South East Europe.
- We celebrate and emphasize successes of our dear members and of colleagues from partner’s Associations who were also awarded for their accomplishments. For more information about ABW member’s awards visit the following link.
- Members of ABW Serbia organized and supported many humanitarian actions, as Humanitarian art exhibition forbeneficiaries of Facility for children and youth with disabilities “Sremcica”, Charity auction of Easter chocolate eggs, Charity auction of the largerst cake in Serbia, International week of tolerance, etc.
SERVICE DEVELOPMENT AND PROMOTION OF ABW SERBIA
- We worked a lot on self-improvement and development, especially in the field of services and capacities for self-financing. Susan Sarfati, expert and executive director of “High Performance Strategies”, supported our efforts through mentoring with Executive Board, members and employees of ABW Serbia. Executive Board adopted another membership category – “Friends of ABW Serbia”, and created a special services package. Target group are companies not owned by women, but interested in cooperation with SMEs owned by members of ABW Serbia and with which they want to establish lines of communication via channels of ABW Serbia.
- There were 147 media releases about ABW Serbia and its members in 2015, 103 announcements on ABW Serbia web site, 90 videos on ABW Serbia’s You Tube Channel, viewed 19.551 times and our Facebook page reached more than 3.500 followers. Being aware of the importance of social networks, we created ABW Serbia Instagram account. 41.403 people have visited ABW Serbia’s web site this year.
- During 2015, 68 new members joined the Association.
We hope that the next year will be even more successful!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ABW SERBIA!