Unleashing Women Entrepreneurs in Eastern Europe: MI-BOSPO
Disenchanted with a career in physical therapy that took her to Germany to work and then back to her home in Bosnia and Herzegovina to work for the women’s basketball team among others places, Melisa Ćuk decided it was time to fulfill her longtime dream: to open her own business.
A year later she opened ‘Belezza’, a massage studio, with the help of her first loan and one year later, she had acquired 1,500 clients.
In a war-torn, post-conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina, women like Melisa Ćuk are establishing new businesses at an accelerated pace, creating more jobs for men and women, inspiring young women to start up their own businesses.
The MI-BOSPO Women in Business Network (WBN) is one of the pillars of this economic growth and opportunities for women like Melisa, who is in fact a member of the organization.
MI-BOSPO is first a microcredit foundation that began in 2000 and then created the Women in Business Network a year and half ago after seeing an opportunity to strengthen small and medium enterprises (SMEs) led by women (and men), and therefore the market, and raise the economic status of women.
As the director of MI-BOSPO, Nejira Nalic has helped empower more than 20,000 low-income women by providing access to microloans for their small businesses, and is also leading the charge for the Women in Business Network to help develop entrepreneurs and SMEs to become competitive and ensure job creation for more people.
Growing up in a country where women are entitled to equal rights under the legal system, Director Nejira understands the hidden inequality that Bosnian women still face in society, despite the positive legislation.
“There are more and more women coming out and getting involved in social spheres, especially health and education,” Director Nejira says. “But a lot are still suffering from lack of opportunities and gender-based violence.”
Director Nejira equates her own success with the success of MI-BOSPO clients, and with the success of colleagues who are running and developing MI-BOSPO into a sustainable success.
“We hope to see for professional and business women in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Eastern Europe to be more financially independent, to exercise their right to work and create equal opportunities when it comes to building a profitable business. As from our own experience… women are ready for new challenges and business opportunities in the society. Women are aware that only together they can do more and change the situation to benefit their businesses,” Director Nejira said.
“Women are aware that only together they can do more and change the situation to benefit their businesses.”
As for young entrepreneur Melisa, she has clearly set goals for future such broadening of service portfolio, employment and education of young people, purchase of modern equipment and all in order to eventually become an owner of contemporary spa and massage center.
Melisa is just one of the thousands of women entrepreneurs and professionals MI-BOSPO is helping equip, develop, and unleash: You might keep an eye on Bosnia and Herzegovina…
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