Social entrepreneurship as a means of economic empowerment of women

Photo belongs to Milica Calija

Social entrepreneurship as a means of economic empowerment of women

NGO Atina which is the founder of women's social entrepreneurship initiative, Bagel Bejgl, throught the seminar Social entrepreneurship as a means of economic empowerment of women supported 10 other civil society organizations in their efforts to take the same or similar path. Colleague Milica Calija, founder of the enterprise "Andjeli", gave her full support to the whole process. Social entrepreneurship as a means of economic empowerment of women has found its way to organizations such as: Zene na prekretnici, Adra, BCM, Jastrebacka prica, Real Medice Foundation Balkan, ORD Bujanovac, who in potential want to launch their own entrepreneurial initiatives. Believe it or not, some of them managed to do it by the end of writing this report. NGO Atina owes special gratitude to women future entrepreneurs who came to round off their knowledge before starting this great venture.

And, the seminar was directed toward them, to women entrepreneurs themselves to help improve their ideas and work, as well as to align it with existing market values. The seminar itself provided an answer to key questions and "know how" that can resolve issues during the establishment of the structure and systems within future enterprises. The focus was on essential steps of founding a social enterprise, defining the idea, and presenting (selling) the story. Through an interactive approach and practical exercises, goals, steps, and action plans were set up to realize this idea. The necessity of planning and continuous monitoring of financial costs, as well as management of revenues and expenditures during the process itself have been emphasized several times, as it makes the starting point of the whole idea, but also of the management of such a story. Also, all participants were given guidelines for applying to various funds that provide financial support for the start-up. From the perspective of NGO Atina and Bagel Bejgl, it would be wonderful to see how those ideas were developed, but also articulated, through designs of business models, analyses of existing situation, as well as constant search for ideas.

Social entrepreneurship is a learning process that requires balancing between the cruel market and the mission and vision of an enterprise. One of the most important items that enable successful work is presenting the story and answering two key questions: Why am I a social enterprise? What is my story?

Marijana Savic certainly found it easy to answer questions related to social entrepreneurship, as the gained experience enabled good knowledge of the situation and the field. She approached the way in which a non-profit association Atina, that deals with the protection of human trafficking victims, founded a profit-making enterprise Bagel Bejgl, which is Ltd. Presenting the beginnings of Bagel Bejgl's work, development process was presented from the creation of initial capital to directing profits toward Atina’s programs. The program of economic empowerment of women who survived human trafficking was presented as a separate unit, as well as a key element of including the most vulnerable persons in social flows.

Atina conducted this seminar with the support of UN Women - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women within the EU-funded project "Key Steps Toward Gender Equality".

Photographs from the event can be viewed in the gallery:

This text was produced in the framework of the project "Support to Priority Actions for Gender Equality in Serbia", implemented by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) with funding from the European Union. The views contained in the text are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of UN Women, the United Nations or any of its affiliated organizations. The project is part of the initiative for supporting women entrepreneurship, women in rural areas, decreasing labor market and employment discrimination, encouraging dialogue on the importance of economic empowerment of women and exchange of knowledge and information among women entrepreneurs.