Submitted by: International Finance Corporation
Posted: Oct 02, 2008 – 06:09 PM EST
Washington, D.C. - October 2, 2008 - A new report from IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and MI-BOSPO, a leading micro-credit organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has found that the number of women entrepreneurs in that country is growing despite challenges involving licensing, taxation, labor, and access to finance.
The report, "Voices of Women Entrepreneurs in Bosnia and Herzegovina," is being released today. It documents the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in the country, and highlights the success stories of women who overcame those obstacles. The report aims to inform policy makers on the issues and provide role models for aspiring women entrepreneurs.
Women make up nearly 52 percent of the country's working-age population, but their labor-force participation rate is only 43 percent, according to the report. Few women own businesses, although they show a growing interest in business. Women account for 58 percent of students of business management in the country.
Zouera Youssoufou, head of IFC's Gender Program, said "the importance of women's entrepreneurship and its contribution to economic growth is being increasingly recognized around the world. Boosting female entrepreneurship in Bosnia and Herzegovina by tackling the main issues identified in the report will help a well-educated and underutilized talent pool participate in the country's economic growth."
Alma Bijedic, MI-BOSPO Marketing Manager, said that "when we asked women what inspired them to start businesses, they said it was to contribute to the household, to have something of their own, to have their own money, to be successful and respected. MI-BOSPO can help them meet their objectives by providing access to finance that otherwise would be unavailable."
"In Bosnia and Herzegovina, we are constantly looking for better ways to integrate women in the economy" noted Dr. Bisera Turkovic, the Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United States. "The report provides useful information as well as inspiration for young women who are just starting out in their professional life in a challenging post-conflict environment."
The report is part of an IFC investment and technical-assistance program designed to strengthen MI-BOSPO's position as a financial service provider to help economically empower women in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For more information, visit www.ifc.org and www.ifc.org/gender
MI-BOSPO is a leading micro-credit organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina targeting women. The organization's mission is to economically empower women, led by the belief that the economically empowered woman can better influence social change and contribute to a better quality of life within the family. MI-BOSPO provides hope and encouragement to the 30,000 women entrepreneurs that are MI-BOSPO's clients. For more information: www.mi-bospo.org
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