TransConflict Serbia and Democracy for Development (D4D) from Kosovo – with the support of the British Embassies in Belgrade and Pristina, respectively – organized a conference in Pristina entitled the ‘Empowering female entrepreneurs in the promotion of business opportunities between Serbia and Kosovo’, as part of an on-going project, ‘Creating a New Generation of Women Leaders in Serbia and Kosovo.’
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On 30th September, a conference entitled the ‘Empowering female entrepreneurs in the promotion of business opportunities between Serbia and Kosovo’ took place in Pristina, gathering around 90 businesswomen from Serbia and Kosovo. Jointly organized by TransConflict Serbia and Democracy for Development (D4D), the conference was part of an on-going project, ‘Creating a New Generation of Women Leaders in Serbia and Kosovo’, aimed at creating ties of cooperation between Serbian and Kosovar businesswomen. The project is supported by the British Embassies in Belgrade and Pristina, respectively.
Having gathered a large number of women entrepreneurs from various professional sectors, the conference served as an opportunity to present the Forum of Business Women from Serbia and Kosovo, which has been established through a joint initiative of Serbian and Kosovar businesswomen. Though still an informal body, the Forum is gradually building in size and importance, and is already seen as an important contributor to the process of normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo.
The conference participants were greeted by His Excellency, Ian Cliff, the British Ambassador in Pristina, who emphasized the importance of Serbia -Kosovo dialogue and explained that the Embassies see this project as an extremely important component of the overall process. “We support this particular project as we believe that in order to bring greater stability, there is need for greater contacts between businesses and in particular connecting women businesses as they have greater role to play in building bridges between people”. Ambassador Cliff particularly thanked businesswomen from Serbia and Kosovo who have contributed to the establishment of the Forum for their openness and readiness to facilitate joint initiatives in the future. Ambassador Cliff concluded with the hope that these various forms of cooperation will contribute to economies of both countries and to the normalization of relations between ordinary people.
The conference also brought together official representatives of the Serbian and Kosovo Chambers of Commerce, respectively, who expressed their support to the Forum and acknowledged the importance of opening a new chapter in cooperation between Serbia and Kosovo – particularly in the sphere of economy and entrepreneurship. Both Chambers will work towards the removal of existing barriers, in order to create a more favourable business environment and incite more intensive business cooperation.
Other panelists included Ms. Teuta Sahatqija, an MP from Kosovo Parliament, who welcomed businesswomen from Serbia and Kosovo and praised them for their commitment and courage to organize mutual visits within Serbia and Kosovo, instead of choosing more ‘neutral’ places, as is often the case. Ms. Sahatqija urged women in businesses to continue their joint cooperation in the interest of overall economic development of Serbia and Kosovo, but also to advocate for harmonisation of legislations concerning businesses and facilitation of joint initiatives.
The conference participants also had the opportunity to hear presentations delivered by Serbian and Kosovar members of the Forum, and to meet successful businesswomen – Ambassadors of Women Entrepreneurship from Serbia – who presented their respective businesses and shared their professional experiences with their counterparts from Kosovo.
The conference concluded with an agreement between Serbian and Kosovar businesswomen to continue working towards strengthening of the Forum, so that it would become the solid bridge of cooperation between businesses from Serbia and Kosovo.