Archive for the ‘Associations’ Category.

Balkan Women Coalition Comes Together for a Training Seminar in Bulgaria

The Balkan Women Coalition has held another training seminar this month. The “Best Practices in Entrepreneurship, Business Organizations and Social Sciences” seminar took place on June 5-6 in Santa Marina Holiday Village, Sozopol, Bulgaria.

The event was organized and hosted by SELENA, the Association of Women Entrepreneurs in Bulgaria in the framework of the project titled “„Balkan Women Coalition for Professional Qualification and Training in the Field of Business and Economic Science”. The project receives financial support from the European Union, through the Lifelong Learning Program.

Private entrepreneurs, representatives of business associations and members of the academia in Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Serbia, Croatia and FYROM attended the event.

The seminar included sessions on entrepreneurship, business organizations and social sciences, as well as vivid discussions about and experience exchanges of best practices of SMEs in the fields of manufacturing, tourism and services. The participants introduced examples of successful small and medium-sized companies in the Balkans and discussed about the factors behind their success.

Carmen Stanila, Deputy Director of the Regional Center for Organization Management in Romania presented on the role of business support organizations in creating a venue for positive competition. In addition, she shared best practices of Romanian SMEs in manufacturing. In this context, she highlighted several women entrepreneurs who have developed successful businesses in the manufacturing sector in Romania.

The next event of the Balkan Women Coalition will take place in fall in Croatia.



New Women Entrepreneurs Service Chamber Launches in Macedonia

In the Republic of Macedonia, the development of women entrepreneurs is still in a nascent stage. There have been a number of activities that aim to further development, however, the fact that only 4% of businesses are owned or managed by women shows that much more needs to be done. Over the past few years, many associations aimed at encouraging women entrepreneurs, but as of today there is still little progress.

In this context the association of women within the Macedonian Chamber of Commerce has developed serious initiatives such as mentorship programs, business promotion, and advocating on behalf of women owned businesses to strengthen the position of women in the business community.   With more than 150 member companies, the Macedonian Women Entrepreneurs at Service Chamber in Macedonia Chamber of Commerce will strive for the successful representation of women in business and pursue a high level of development for women entrepreneurs in Macedonia.

The president of Macedonian Women Entrepreneurs at Service Chamber in Macedonia Chamber of Commerce is Ms. Danela Arsovska (  The Coordinator for the association is Mrs. Maja Saveska (

Educating Women Business Associations in the Balkans

The association members of the Balkan Coalition of Women Business Associations got together for a series of two educational events which took place on March 20-22, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. The first seminar was titled “Primary Aspects of Managing Effective Human Resources” whereas the second seminar focused on businesses for migrants and people with disabilities.

The two events, hosted by the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGIDER) as the Turkish Member of the Coalition, brought together over thirty representatives of women business associations from eight countries in the Balkan region (Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYROM, Greece, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey). Continue reading ‘Educating Women Business Associations in the Balkans’ »

Indigenous Women and the Fight for Economic Inclusion in Peru

Originally posted on the CIPE Development Blog by Molly Brister.

Last October U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled to Peru. Clinton’s Peru trip barely made the headlines, but her remarks deserve attention and continue to ring true worldwide, especially in Latin America.

On her agenda: discussing bilateral and regional cooperation and delivering a keynote on women’s financial inclusion. In her remarks, she emphasized that economic strength is derived from social inclusion, and “at the heart of social inclusion [is] a commitment to women and girls.” But unfortunately the world’s attention was elsewhere, caught up in controversy over Libya and other regional priorities. Continue reading ‘Indigenous Women and the Fight for Economic Inclusion in Peru’ »

CIPE Women Entrepreneurs Update

Pakistan – CIPE completed a diagnostic report on the development of women’s chambers of commerce in Pakistan. The research shows that of eight registered women’s chambers, currently only five are functioning effectively. The report indicates that while these chambers have increased their membership, they continue to have deficits in governance, income generation and sustainability, and service delivery for members. Using this information, CIPE plans to develop a range of capacity-building initiatives for Pakistan’s women’s chambers, and will also integrate these organizations into current efforts to build a region-wide network of women’s business organizations.

Zimbabwe – CIPE partner the Women’s Alliance of Business Associations in Zimbabwe (WABAZ) conducted a Womenomics Dialogue Forum in cooperation with its members the Professional Women Executives and Business Women’s Forum, the Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Center, and Network (ZWRCN) and UN WOMEN. The Forum provided an opportunity for 55 women participants to discuss the budgetary process, focusing on women’s attitudes towards participation in the budget process and how they can advance their participation in the formal sector. The attendees were encouraged to be part of organizations that advocate on their behalf. Action plans from the Forum included addressing women’s lack of knowledge of the budgetary process and the resulting disadvantages. Several of the host organizations pledged to provide support to these action plans. For example, ZWRCN will be responsible for research and obtaining information on gender-based budgeting, PROWEB will ad vocate for a quota system were women can sit in on decision-making boards, and WABAZ will disseminate information to its members to increase women’s participation in budgetary process.

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Fostering Enterprise in Bangladesh

Women Entrepreneur Association of Bangladesh (WEAB) president, Nasreen Fatema Awal, was recently recognized by the Industries Minister as a vital player in driving Bangladesh’s economy.  The award, known as CIP status, is granted to recognize contributions to job creation and economic growth.  Ms. Awal’s CIP card grants her certain privileges such as travel priority, access to functions with municipal corporations, and membership in policymaking committees.  While these privileges provide many benefits to WEAB’s ability to foster enterprise, the recognition alone is a wonderful accomplishment.

As an example of the work that the organization has completed to earn such recognition from the government, WEAB recently announced that it will open a marketing outlet for female entrepreneurs.  Working with the SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneurs Council (SCWEC) WEAB arranged an to open the facility in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  WEAB, sees the outlet as a platform for women entrepreneurs to better market their products and grant them access to markets that have so far been blocked. In addition, WEAB will use the facility as a training center to further develop members’ innovative skills.  Ms. Awal was quoted as saying, “Small and Medium entrepreneurs are constantly striving to move forward. But they do not know where to market their products…and how to improve quality.” The new marketing outlet will be a good opportunity to help women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh accomplish both.

Thanks to Kharuba Khatun (WEAB) for sharing this information.

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CIPE Women Entrepreneurs Update

Peru – CIPE partner the Institute for Liberty and Democracy held a workshop in Cusco aimed at promoting business participation among indigenous women and building the capacity of indigenous women’s associations. The workshop provided over 40 participants with the legal and economic tools to pursue entrepreneurial ventures, know their rights, and advocate for removing challenges that affect the local business environment. CIPE consultant Marina Stadthagen presented at the workshop on association governance and the importance of business associations in democratic societies.

Nigeria – CIPE hosted a three-day capacity-building workshop for 24 women representing 15 Nigerian business and professional women’s associations at CIPE’s field office in Lagos. The workshop on association management covered topics including best practices for functional boards and management; strategic planning; membership recruitment and retention; and service provision. CIPE Nigeria Country Director Wumi Gbadamosi, CIPE Field Representative Camelia Bulat, and CIPE Program Officer Yana Hongla facilitated the workshop. CIPE is working to enhance the capacity of business and professional women’s organizations to effectively advocate for their members’ interests.

Zimbabwe – CIPE partner the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) hired two consultants to provide assistance to the Women Alliance of Business Associations of Zimbabwe (WABAZ). The first consultant met with two WABAZ members to provide technical assistance on association management and membership development, while the second consultant met with five WABAZ members in Harare and Bulawayo to solicit input on the development of a strategic plan to guide the informal coalition over the next five years. This is part of a CIPE program with ZNCC to empower women’s business associations to advocate for policy and regulatory reforms on issues affecting women entrepreneurs.

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Women Owned Businesses in Jamaica

Yaneek Page is president of the Women Business Owners (WBO) association in Jamaica.  WBO was founded in 2003 to foster and promote the success of women business owners through education, research, mentorship and education.

In 2005-2006 Women Business Owners (WBO) Jamaica completed a study of women and family owned business in Jamaica (the survey counted 2,916 family-owned businesses (FOBs) and 1,718 owned by women (WOBs)). The study was done in partnership with the Jamaica Conference Board, the Bank of Nova Scotia Jamaica Ltd., the United States Agency for International Development and Mona School of Business at the University of the West Indies. The themes covered in the study included the business characteristics, business leadership, business relationships, succession and resource planning, and governance and citizenship. The key findings from the study were:

  •  There were 315 operations categorised as both FOBs and WOBs, largely based on the uncertainty of respondents attached to those businesses.
  • The highest number of FWOBs, approximately 1,512, was recorded in the Kingston and St. Andrew metropolitan area, skewed 60 per cent to FOBs; followed by St. Catherine with 1,308; and St. Ann with 449.

Building on this report, WBO has recently launched a program with Scotiabank Jamaica and the Inter-American Development Bank to support businesswomen who seek to grow their enterprises.  Under the new endeavor, Scotiabank has set aside J$300 million for members of WBO who need working capital, re-tooling of processes, upgraded technology, and other investments needed for growth.

The executive summary which is reproduced here, details in point form the main findings of the study: Continue reading ‘Women Owned Businesses in Jamaica’ »

Economically Empowering Women in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development recently published a document that seeks to expand the level of women’s participation in the mainstream economy.  The Broad Based Women Economic Empowerment (BBWEE) framework acts as an implementation plan to ensure women control an equal share of the economy and benefit from all possible economic opportunities.

By communicating the vision, goal and underlying principles of BBWEE, the framework can be applied generally to the private sector, NGOs, and government organizations.  The document defines operational objectives, main pillars, and intervention areas that are imperative to economically empowering women.  Key actions as well as a time frame for each are outlined in the framework and an indicative budget is laid out for partners.  In addition to laying out the individual steps, the framework identifies key indicators for monitoring progress and impact.

In support of the BBWEE, the Women Alliance of Business Associations of Zimbabwe (WABAZ) has agreed to participate in the government’s plan.  The government’s willingness to cooperate with civil society in implementing and monitoring the BBWEE framework is a good step to ensuring that the new plan effectively increases women’s participatory possibilities.

Stories of Success from Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) works to support their local women business community.  Offering services including training, capacity building, and advocacy, BWCCI has emerged as a strong civil society organization that helps women entrepreneurs develop the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful.

Working with USAID’s Democracy and Governance program, Promoting Governance, Accountability, Transparency, and Integrity (PROGATI) on fighting corruption, and with CIPE on access to credit, BWCCI has established regional working groups to aid women in their endeavors.  Here are a few stories of some of the women BWCCI has helped through their work.


“I was experiencing a lot of difficulty getting a loan from the bank, but with the support of our divisional BWCCI working group it became easier for me.”

At the age of 22, Konika Rani assumed responsibility for her family after the death of her husband.  Having started a business in 2005 called “Pankaj Boutique house” in Aditmari, Lalmonirhat she applied for loan at the Janata Bank, mortgaging her land to the bank in the process.  After 2 months, with the support of BWCCI, Konika received her first loan, in the amount of Tk20000, and repaid it within the scheduled timeframe. Following this, Konika applied for another loan from Janata Bank for Tk50000. However, the bank proposed her to only take Tk20000 again. In response, she informed the Rangpur Divisional working group of BWCCI and with the support of the Divisional Head, ACC, and Bank personnel she was able to receive Tk45000. Now, with the proper funds she can continue her business and fulfill her responsibilities to her family.

Continue reading ‘Stories of Success from Bangladesh’ »