UNDP creates a website for women in business

March 18, 2022



Podgorica, March 18, 2022 – The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Development, created the www.zenskibiznis.me website intended for all women in Montenegro who want to start new or improve an existing business, educate themselves, or receive information about business opportunities and support programs, achieve mutual cooperation and strengthen ties with the public sector.

Aware of the opportunities provided to women entrepreneurs and their position in the market, the platform was created to follow digitalization trends and thus support the economic empowerment of women in Montenegro and provide support to those who are already in business and those who want to implement their business ideas.

Women make up 51% of Montenegro's population, but remain underrepresented in economic life. However, there is a noticeable increase in women in entrepreneurship compared to ten years ago, when they owned only 9.6% companies. Today, 24% of micro, small and medium business owners are women, while women make up 32% of all entrepreneurs. This is still below the world and European average, in which women business owners make up over 30% of entrepreneurs. Women are also overrepresented in the informal economy – at a rate of 16.6% compared to 11.9% of men. On the other hand, the digital economy has enabled many women to access work that allows them to use their creativity and potential. A slightly higher percentage of women in Montenegro use the Internet daily or almost daily (88.5%) compared to men (87.4%). However, they are more oriented towards social networks and communication. The goal of the www.zenskibiznis.me platform is to help women being more productive in the digital revolution, improve their knowledge and digital literacy and take adventage of as many opportunities as possible.

Training and education opportunities, which will be organized online through video modules and presentations, will be available to all registered platform users. The platform provides entrepreneurs with education in all necessary areas – from starting and running a business, through marketing, financial management and human resources, to business development and business internationalization.

A team of experienced mentors who will be hired in accordance with the requirements of the users of the platform will provide useful tips for overcoming business challenges. In addition, the platform will contribute to strengthening cooperation with the public sector in order to create new policies that will enable a better position of women in the market.

The UNDP Resident Representative for Montenegro, Daniela Gašparikova, believes that women must be actively involved in the dialogue on the country's socio-economic recovery, digitalization of society, entrepreneurship, security, and democratization of institutions.

We have been witnessing a huge gender gap in the economy for many years – women make up about 60% of all unemployed persons in Montenegro, most of them are not actively looking for work, and the fact that less than 10% of all property in Montenegro is owned by women is a serious barrier to economic independence and starting one's own business. According to the World Bank, an increase in women's entrepreneurship would increase the GDP of the Western Balkans region by as much as 20%, but the recovery of a country's economy should not be measured only through GDP, but also through improving women's well-being. Without the economic empowerment of women, no society can be resilient enough to future crises, as women in business have great potential whose capacities should be recognized to create added value. That is why it is important to support women in gaining skills and experience, in order to be competitive on the market, run their own businesses and manage funds“, Gašparikova said.

The National Platform was created for the needs of the Government of Montenegro, i.e. the Ministry of Economic Development, in accordance with the Government Strategy for Women's Entrepreneurship in Montenegro for the period 2021-2024, within the project “Accelerating Digital Governance“, implemented and funded by UNDP in Montenegro.

Milena Lipovina Božović, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development, emphasizes that the Ministry of Economic Development recognizes the importance of equal inclusion of women in all segments of society, and above all in the economy. “Gender mainstreaming has been implemented through all activities of the ministry. This is best reflected in the recently published, the Program for Improving the Competitiveness of the Economy which integrates specific and stimulating measures to support women entrepreneurs. Namely, for companies in which the founding ownership structure of at least 50% consists of women, the scope of maximum support is up to 80% of eligible costs excluding VAT. In addition to the National Platform for Economic Empowerment of Women and the program activities of the ministry, which is accompanied by the Strategy for the Development of Women's Entrepreneurship, our goal is to increase the number of successful businesses owned by women“, Lipovina Božović said.