The Association of Business Women is an NGO which actively works to promote women’s entrepreneurship in North Macedonia. Formally established in July 2010, it has become recognised for strengthening the economy within the country through female entrepreneurship.

The organisation is now the largest leading national association of business women and works closely with the government, NGOs and the private sector. This has enabled them to revise their national strategy for strengthening women entrepreneurship in North Macedonia, which was developed in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy. Having actively worked to improve conditions for women in business, they now have more than 300 women entrepreneurs as active members.

Issues that the association has worked on:

– Increasing the number of women entrepreneurs and enhancing their visibility by encouraging the growth of their businesses through forums and various B2B meetings for ideas exchange and development of new business contacts

– Strengthening the link between women entrepreneurs through the exchange of experiences and ideas, at a local, regional and international level; this included organising events that strengthen WEgate at national level and identifying the needs of WEgate for future EU activities
– Promoting social responsibility and high standards of business

– Providing education and knowledge, by organising tailor-made trainings, workshops and round tables, based on identifying training needs and in line with the SBA (Small Business Act) principles

– Supporting micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as start-ups and spin-offs, to grow and have wider networks

– Mentoring of youth and women entrepreneurs’ through their own mentoring network

– Having an impact and adequate influence by lobbying for better support and conditions for women entrepreneurship.

How to ensure solid financing

The organisation’s road to success has not been without challenges, mainly to do with financing. The Association of Business Women generates only modest funds from membership, which is low, in order to be in compliance with the national standard.

However, they implemented numerous projects financed by different donors, such as EU pre-accession funds, SIDA, the European Commission, CIVICA MOBILITAS, the Ministry of Economy of North Macedonia.

The organisation is also applying for new calls and opportunities, and they are considering how to increase the loyalty and contribution from their members. The hope is that by following regional and international trends and practices they can achieve their aim and reach higher.