Mentoring session : Challenges for women entrepreneurs

Our Mentors have personal experience of owning and managing a small or medium-sized business successfully for years, are aware of specific challenges that women entrepreneurs face (e.g. in starting a business, accessing finance, networking and balancing family and business).
Our mentor Mrs.Flutura Xhabija, a senior expert in support to women business, and especially

 

 

 

 

Mentoring session: using ICT tools for business purposes

While many women mentored during the IPA CBC project implementation report that they own and regularly use mobile phones, not all of them have regular internet connection. Also, few own other kinds of ICT tools such as computers, broadband, internet-enabled laptops or smart tablets), and very few use the more advanced features of the online world.  Also, this shows that ICTs are not being used fully for business purposes, but primarily for personal and social motives. The key challenges include women entrepreneurs’ limited ICT skills, and their lack of awareness of and low confidence in using ICTs for business purposes. Affordability and financial reasons might also be a constraint as smart tables, laptops, computers, mobiles and internet connection cost and women cannot afford to add to their expenses more than what they already have.

Mentor: Teuta Xhindi

Mentoring session on legal support for women entrepreneurs in Elbasan

micro enterprice development project for women in crosboarder area  is offering expert mentoring to women entrepreneurs, to help them keep their new businesses going during their first, very challenging years. Each entrepreneur was matched with a suitable mentor (considering location, business type, etc.) and met her each month for three months in a row. .A clear outline of the goals and objectives was agreed between both parties to ensure that the best results could be achieved. Mentors have personal experience of owning and managing a small or medium-sized business successfully for at least five years, be aware of specific challenges that women entrepreneurs face (e.g. in starting a business, accessing finance, networking and balancing family and business), or experts that have experience in legal issues, or ICT, or Communication etc They undertook to share their knowledge and know-how with their mentees and be available to meet them regularly.
Our legal mentor is Ms.Dhurata Çupi, a senior expert in legal issues regarding local legal support to business, and especially supporting women entrepreneurship.

Mentoring session on social media

There is no denying that in current times, social media is a powerful tool for businesses to embrace. From improved communication with customers, increased brand awareness and authority to a growth in sales and website traffic, the benefits of social media can hardly be overstated. Going hand in hand with social media, digital marketing and the vital part it plays in every business’s success was another important element highlighted during the project.

Our mentor Blerjana Bino had a fruitful discussion and women shared their experience using social media for business.

Access to finance and banking

Marketing systems are undergoing rapid transformation. Traditional marketing channels with ad hoc sales are being replaced by coordinated links between processors, retailers and others. As incomes increase, women business patterns are changing. Consumers are becoming more demanding in terms of quality and safety and demographic and income trends are leading to increased demand for convenience products, together with assurances of product safety.

It is against this background that donors, NGOs and others are recognizing the need for activities that link women businesses to market demand. Thus approaches such as “Linking to Markets”, which assume the development of long-term business relationships rather than support for ad hoc sales, were identified during the meeting in Elbasan. The meeting and discussions briefly reviewed examples of linkages developed both directly by the private sector and by projects where donors and NGOs provide the catalyst for women to work more closely within the private sector.

There is a growing trend towards branding on the basis of quality or taste attributes, and this may have the advantage of not requiring certification. Among some development agencies there tends to be emphasis on helping women to identify profitable markets overseas rather than domestically.

Women and their economic power in Elbasan

In the framework of the project ” Microenterprise development project for women in the cross-border area” supported by IPA Cross-Border Funds of Northern Macedonia and Albania for 2014-2015, Center for Comparative and International studies has organized on Jan 31, 2020 a policy discussion on local and regional policies to encourage women in the region of Elbasan to create new ventures and opportunities to support them on being entrepreneurs.

This policy discussion was organized from CCIS and Institute of Human Rights from North Macedonia and another Albanian NGO working with Women in Elbasan, WPS Albania and Mrs. Mimoza Hajdarmataj, ex- member of Albanian Parliament and co-founder. WPS Albanian and Identitet e.V, an NGO from diaspora in Germany, are implementing in Elbasan region the project “Step by Step! Women economic growth in Elbasani Region through knowledge exchange with Albanian diaspora in Germany” funded by GIZ International

The policy discussion brought together in a very intensive discussion the group of women working with CCIS in the project from two year by now and policy makers, academics, business women, had of Chamber of commerce and industry, businessman from diaspora in Germany, women NGOs and journalists.

 

Joint training in Struga

Institute of Human Rights in North Macedonia and CCIS, organized a Joint training in Struga with women entrepreneurs from Elbasan and Polog  about legal framework on Labor and the Rights and Obligations of the Employer and the Employee; Contents of the employment contract, with legal experts from Albania and North Macedonia.

This service is becoming available on regular base for women target group part of the project  in both site of the cross border area in the framework of the project ” Microenterprise development project for women in the cross-border area” supported by IPA Cross-Border Funds of Northern Macedonia and Albania for 2014-2015 and leader from CCM.

Women entrepreneurship is at a similar level of development in the targeted cross-border region – Polog and Elbasan. Every successful start, diversification or developments of the business requires following numerous legislative procedures whose steps can become burden or uncertainty to the entrepreneur. In that regard the legislative advice can have significant contribution to the performance of the business, its legal certainty and protection since businesses have to deal with ever-increasing legislation and regulatory requirements. The legal aspects of doing business affect not only the women entrepreneurs but as well their customers, employees, suppliers, banks etc. and can potentially cover all different topic for two of the target groups.

Saturday, 19 -20 October 2019 – Hotel DRIM- Struga

    

Policy discussion on local and regional policies

Center for Comparative and International Studies(CCIS) and Mesdheu Center, in cooperation with the Municipality of Elbasan and under the special care of the Mayor of Elbasan Mr. Gledian Llatja, in the framework of the project ” Microenterprise development project for women in the cross-border area” supported by IPA Cross-Border Funds of Northern Macedonia and Albania for 2014-2015, has organized a policy discussion on local and regional policies to encourage women in the region of Elbasan to create new ventures and opportunities to support them financially through financial schemes. ( here agenda and invitation)

Mr. Llatja expressed the willingness of the Elbasan Municipality to foster female entrepreneurship, and the municipality is taking concrete steps, starting with gender budgeting.

Part of the discussion was also the member of the Parliament Msr. Evis Kushi, she pointed out Business opportunities for women, Gender equality in business, Advantages of cross border business ideas.

The policy discussion brought together 45 women to discuss the findings and recommendations of the feasibility study conducted in both regions, and to open all possible issue around legislation, policies and by-laws as well as subsidies and measures undertaken to support the micro-enterprise development of women.

Active participation and discussion among participants was encouraged, especially in terms of exchanging personal experiences related to actual policies in improving the climate to do business in Albania

Invitation Policy discussion in Elbasan 16.10.2019. (Click Here)

Agenda Policy discussion in Elbasan 16.10.2019 (Click Here)

      

 

Training in Elbasan: Development of Business Plan, the first step to a successful business.

One of the most important steps in developing a venture is the business plan. This allows the entrepreneur to clarify and detail the business idea, also to think about and anticipate the problems that can be encountered during the implementation of this plan. During this session, it will be explained how to determine all the actions it will take to realize the start of operation, the time span of each action, the costs for each stage of development. This session devotes a particular place and importance to the presentation of the business plan for getting the necessary funding, both for founding and circulating capital, to the calculation of cash flows, determining the return on investment and assessing the expected profit. This topic is one of the main pillars of the subject in discussion.

 

Training in Elbasan: Restructuring the business and Development of Business Plan: step to successful restructuring of an existing business

Often companies do not allow enough time for planning and implementing the restructure. A restructuring process involves details concerning vendors and consumers, stockholders and financial relationships, employees and inventory, quality control and environmental impact, equipment and technology, and management and marketing. All of these areas need careful thought and consideration to determine how company restructuring will affect each one. The writing of a business plan allows the entrepreneur to foresee all the indispensable steps to achieve the objective of restructuring/ expanding the existing business.

During this session the participants learn to define all the actions they will take to complete the restructuring or expansion of the activity, the time span of each action, the costs for each stage of development.This session devotes a particular place and importance to the presentation of the business plan for getting the necessary funding, both for founding and circulating capital, to the calculation of cash flows, determining the return on investment and assessing the expected profit. This topic is one of the main pillars of the subject in discussion. Obviously, this part requires more than the entrepreneurial spirit. Financial issues should be considered, which necessitates some knowledge on the field and especially the attention and concentration to grab the most useful principles and notions from the participants.