Some financial assistance for Croatia’s female entrepreneurs.
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Raiffeisenbank Austria (RBA) on Friday signed an agreement on a credit line for women entrepreneurs. The EBRD will provide RBA a loan amounting to 20 million euros which will be used to give loans to Croatian small and medium-sized businesses, with a quarter of that amount dedicated exclusively for businesses run by women entrepreneurs. The contract was signed during the “Deloitte SheXO Club – Women in the World of Business” conference, reports Poslovni.hr on November 21, 2015.
The purpose of the credit line is to encourage women entrepreneurs to participate in the Croatian economy and to create conditions for their successful business operations, said Vedrana Jelušić Kašić, EBRD country director for Croatia. She added that, in addition to the financial support within the Women in Business program, EBRD provides advisory services as well. Their plan is to include at least 200 women entrepreneurs in Croatia.
“Women represent a huge potential. For example, in the United Kingdom during the economic crisis from 2008 to 2011, women entrepreneurs accounted for 80 percent of all newly self-employed persons. Studies have also shown that women are more willing to collaborate with research institutions and are more prone to placing new products earlier on the market and to starting their business operations with less funding than men”, Jelušić Kašić said.
Head of the EBRD regional office for Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro Natalia Meylunas said that in Croatia women are still not sufficiently represented in economic activities and that there is still much room for improvement. “The gap is being reduced, however, if you analyse data, you can see that there are 10 percent more unemployed women than men, twice fewer firms owned by women than men, and that they are less represented in business management as well”, she said.
During the conference, the results of Deloitte research about the position of women in the ten EU member states were presented. They showed that companies which support diversity achieve better business results. However, it has been noted that not all companies are active enough in promoting and establishing equality between women and men, and that the economic reasons for the employment of women as well as investing in their career development are very important.