Improvement of Digital Skills of Women Entrepreneurs for Better Business

Workshop for Women Entrepreneurs “Better Business through Data“

June 7, 2024
Photo: Petar Gavrilović

Čurug, 7 June 2024 – Organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Serbia, in cooperation with the Office for Information Technologies and Electronic Government of the Government of Serbia, and with the support of the Embassy of Sweden, the workshop for women entrepreneurs titled “Better Business through Data” has been held today in Čurug. 

The workshop gathered some 20 women entrepreneurs from Vojvodina, mostly members of association “She is Hard-Working” (Ona je vredna), in order to present them with the possibility of optimising and improving their business through data use.  Also, the workshop has created an opportunity to listen to their needs, and talk about the use of the digital services that may facilitate operation and save time, as well as some aspects that make their business more difficult. The entrepreneurs that have participated in the workshop work in different fields – hospitality, production of natural beauty products and jewelry, textile industry, cheese production, cosmetic services and other. 

Minister without Portfolio in the Government of the Republic of Serbia Tatjana Macura said that she hoped that the workshop would be useful to all the women entrepreneurs in improving their business in the future. “As someone who has her origins in entrepreneurship and shares your experiences, I hope that the skills and knowledge concerning open data would help you in your business. Your strength also includes the network you have created within your association. As a minister who will deal with the issues of gender equality, I believe that it is of importance for the entire society that we talk about these issues, and strive to strengthen the gender equality in the business and private sector,” emphasised Macura. She added that she would stay open for cooperation with associations of women entrepreneurs concerning all the important issues. 

The workshop in Čurug represents the first step within the wider range of UNDP activities that strengthen and improve the capacities of women entrepreneurs in the field of data science, within different initiatives and projects with partners, and inter alia within the project titled “Open Data for Open Society” which would be implemented by the Office for IT and E-Government in partnership with UNDP and with the support of the United Kingdom.  

Director of the Office for IT and E-Government Milan Latinović said that he primarily wanted to hear the women entrepreneurs’ perspective on e-government. “Our aim and priority in the last couple of years have been digitalisation of the processes and services and improvement of e-government in the interest of the citizens and economy. It is of great importance for us to hear your opinions on how you use e-government, what services do you take to be important, and especially, what your suggestions for improving the e-services are, from the perspective of the users,” emphasised Latinović and added that the IT and E-government Office would continue with their partnership and cooperation in this field which is of interest for all the women and men living in Serbia. 

UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia Yakup Beris have said that strengthening of women entrepreneurs is important not only for the strengthening of Serbian Economy and the country’s social development, but also for the global economy. “It takes courage, dedication and perseverance to start and maintain a private business, and women entrepreneurs are those who, with their operation, contribute to the local economic development, create new jobs and inspire other women to take this step. Support to women’s entrepreneurship is an investment in a more inclusive future. With this workshop, we wish to support strengthening of digital skills that are of utmost importance in business,” said Beris. He thanked the Government and the IT and E-Government Office for their partner work with UNDP in digital transformation. 

The Chairwoman of association “She is Hard-Working” (Ona je vredna) Svetlana Čavić has said that today’s workshop has been highly useful for the members. “Through our conversation with the Minister and officials, we wanted to present the key challenges that women entrepreneurs face in their business. The members are very satisfied that they had an opportunity to present their products and services. We hope for the cooperation to continue with all the institutions, which would help us to additionally improve our business,” said Čavić and thanked the IT and E-Government Office and UNDP for the cooperation. She has added that the plan is for similar workshops to be also held in the future, and for these workshops to be participated in by more and more women entrepreneurs. 

Within the workshop, Dr Tatjana Kecojević, full lecturer of social statistics at the University of Manchester, has presented the importance of data use in improving business. In their conversation with the Government and UNDP representatives, the entrepreneurs have presented the key challenges that they have been facing and proposed electronic services that may facilitate their work. It has been talked with the entrepreneurs on how they use data and in what way they could use them to improve their business operation. These findings will be used to define the needs and create new programmes of support for women entrepreneurs. 

Some of the future activities would be implemented through project “Open Data for Open Society”, which has the aim to improve digital inclusion and strengthen women in using open data. This would be achieved by creating tools and contents that are gender-responsible, developing women’s skills in working with data and promoting their participation in the open data community. 

Photo: Petar Gavrilović