An EU-funded project draws women from Macedonia and Greece in a common business effort.
By Goran Trajkov for Southeast European Times in Skopje -- 21/02/13
More than 120 women have attended the informational women's development workshops in Bitola, Macedonia. [AFP]
A new EU-funded project is drawing women from Macedonia and Greece to join in regional development and growth through their participation in employment and entrepreneurship. The face-to-face interaction is expected to establish connections that could become the basis for future potential co-operation.
The WIN/WIN project is part of the IPA cross-border co-operation programme. The project aims to support and develop women's entrepreneurship in targeted regions, and affect the economy on a local level.
Unemployed women having difficulty finding employment, women with business ideas, women-owners or managers of small businesses, and women who are looking for extra income or want to work from home are just some of the categories of participating women in the project.
In January, in Bitola, a city bordering with Greece, the second of six conferences on the project was held. More than 120 women have attended the informational workshops, and project co-ordinators hope the overall number of participants reaches 200.
"Women's opinions are collected at these workshops to determine the interest for each woman individually, each woman entrepreneur. The experience from our Greek partners helps a lot, as they have … become one of the eminent organisations in the development of women's entrepreneurship," Meri Stojanova, head of the project, told SETimes.
Popi Sourmaidou, managing director from Ergani Centre, a leading partner of the WIN-WIN project in Greece, told SETimes the project success depends on persistence.
"[The] WIN-WIN project is made … to offer possibilities to women in order to gain new skills and abilities, to capitalise profits from collaboration opportunities in new activities," Sourmaidou said.
Gordana Sekulovska is a participant in the WIN-WIN project and a member of the Association for the Development of Alternative Tourism in Ljubojno, Macedonia.
"New education is welcome and counts. Although the time we spent together was short, the benefit was mutual. Both sides fulfilled their duties conscientiously, professionally and successfully. Work before anything," Sekulovska said.
A contact point for the project was opened in Resen, Macedonia, to provide information to interested women or entrepreneurs after the project's completion.