If you are wondering are there any women involved in the development and promotion of entrepreneurship in the Western Balkans, you could find the answer on the all-women panel organized on Tuesday, November 17th. Leader of the Womenpreneurs initiative from North Macedonia Nina Nikolich gathered women from 11 Balkan countries to present their respective entrepreneurial ecosystems in a round table discussion.
About the event
Womenpreneurs panel was a part of the 2020 Global entrepreneurship week activities in North Macedonia. This was one out of 44 different events organized by Startup Macedonia and their partner organizations.
On top of that, the Womenpreneurs initiative also celebrated its 3rd birthday. And used this opportunity to celebrate entrepreneurship in the entire region.
Besides Nina, who was a host, guest speakers at the event were:
- Aneida Bajraktari Bicja – Balkans Capital, Albania
- Alema Pelesic – SwissEP, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Janet Todorova – Founder Institute Sofia, Bulgaria
- Maja Brkljačić – Algebra Lab, Croatia
- Myrto Papathanou – Metavallon VC, Greece
- Blerta Thaci – Open Data, Kosovo
- Bojana Maraš – MTel Digitalna Fabrika, Montenegro
- Cristina Juc – Spherik Accelerator, Romania
- Ivana Sabo – SwissEP, Serbia
- Tjaša Sobočan – CEED, Slovenia
All the ladies had quite a tricky task – to present their retrospective entrepreneurial landscapes in only 5 minutes with the help of a single slide. Spoiler alert: they all did it!
In case you missed this exciting event, you can find it here:
Key takeaways from the panel
We had the opportunity to get close insights into the entrepreneurial ecosystems of each country. During the panel, we heard who supports entrepreneurs, what are the incubation and acceleration programs entrepreneurs can attend, whether there are any community activities, what are the available co-working spaces, how governments support entrepreneurs and many other interesting points.
The key lessons we learned at the panel are:
- Even if the COVID-19 disrupted our reality, entrepreneurs are the ones who managed to adapt quite quickly and find different ways to survive.
- State support is a necessity. The government must provide good legislation as a foundation for the development of entrepreneurship.
- Innovation and creativity are very highly developed throughout the region.
- Most of the programs and funds are available to the entire region.
- EU Countries have strong support from the Union on their entrepreneurial journey.
- Non-EU countries are following good examples set by their neighbors.
- We are all quite connected and interdependent, even more than we can imagine. Therefore we must collaborate and work together whenever we can.
At the end of the session, Nina promised that she would keep up with this tradition. She will continue gathering women from all over the Balkan to share their stories, learn from each other, and create connections and bonds among countries and communities.
We are looking forward to such activities and a new united Balkan meeting. Until the next gathering, we invite you to watch the recording of the event and subscribe to our blog for more exciting stories from the region.