"Women in Business in 2021" was this big topic which virtually gathered today the Women's Chamber of Commerce and partner institutions. The purpose of this webinar was to promote cooperation and partnership between women entrepreneurs, members of the Women's Chamber of Commerce, and partner institutions to influence the empowerment of women in business.
Increasing access to finance for women in business was one of the main topics of discussion. The speech was opened by the Ministry of Finance and Economy Mrs. Anila Denaj. In her speech, the Minister said that she strongly believes that the empowerment of women and its economic aspect is in itself the empowerment and development of the economy and society. According to her, despite the efforts made in all these years of democracy, there is still a gender gap in terms of entrepreneurship.. "While in Europe or the world this gender gap brings a loss in GDP, in Albania these figures go up to 20%". Mrs. Denaj sees this solution in education and promotion of vocational education.
The virtual event was also represented by EBRD representatives in Albania (Mr. Matteo Colangeli, Director of the EBRD Office in Albania and Mrs. Ardiola Hristic, EBRD Small Business Advice Program Manager ) and Intesa Sanpaolo Bank, who in their speech spoke unanimously about the concrete opportunities to increase access to finance by small and medium-sized businesses, led by women entrepreneurs.
Women in Albania, as an important part of society with an impact on economic and social development, have made a difficult journey towards survival and success. One of the challenges remains the businesses that are built and run by them. About 30% of businesses in the country are headed by women, from the services sector to manufacturing.
One of the strongest supporters of women in entrepreneurship, especially in recent years has been the Swedish Embassy. Mrs. Elsa Hastad, The Ambassador of Sweden in Albania in her speech said that Sweden has a history in terms of supporting women in business in Albania.
"This has been our priority together with the support of women's organizations. We have done a representation and lobbying regarding the role of women. We see gender equality as a key element in the development of society. Women in business in Albania are in 24.5% and most of their businesses are small and medium, so they definitely need more access to funds and financing. We know women in business want support. Women's entrepreneurship faces many challenges, including stereotypes or gender discrimination. "Women in Albania are paid 6 times less than men." Hastad.