Dear women, sisters attending this meeting,
It is my special pleasure to be here with you today and to welcome you to this important activity for all us to the promotion of the report of the First International Conference of Women in Business, a conference on 28-29 October 2010 in Prishtina.
The conference brought together over 170 participants from the business community, state agencies, financial institutions, national and international organizations, successful businesswomen as well as representatives of national business womens organizations from 13 countries around the world.
The conference provided a concrete platform for the exchange of experiences and best practices for further advancement of womens business networks in the region, USA, Southeast Europe and Near East. The conference also shed light on the road ahead, namely the steps and activities that are recommended to achieve an increased number of businesses led by women, as well as their advancement and successful performances.
Economic and social advancement and welfare in Kosovo are inevitably related to the economic and social statuses of our women and girls. Advancement and progress of women in economic activities represents a prerequisite for the sustainable progress of our country. Women of Kosovo should be the agents of our social change. I am convinced that we do have the potential necessary to accomplish this.
Womens participation in governance, civil society, business, education and other spheres is necessary to overcome the challenges faced by the Kosovar society.
I wish to refer to Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, whom claims that talent is a universal value opportunity is not. When women are given the chance, when their potential is utilized, the entire society benefits.
Our women continue to face different obstacles both when opening new businesses or expanding their existing ones. They need further access to training, mentoring, better market presence and more financing for their businesses.
At this occasion, I wish to invite you all to advance your efforts as women in business, to commonly:
Further invite the Government and institutions to liberalize entirely the market by completing the regulatory framework to stimulate the flourishing entrepreneurship and protecting consumers from low quality products and services;
Stimulate the Government to expand the tax basis without increasing taxes or fees, in order to create an equal environment for a sincere competition, and
Promote by all means increases of the number of small and medium enterprises, as they represent the first source for new employment possibilities.
You should be partners to the Government; You should encourage it to perform comprehensive reforms that will provide for fruitful performances of your enterprises. I bear witness to the fact that the Government understands that a only a developing private sector can result in prompt and sustainable development in Kosovo.
In order to enhance the role of women in business development and economic improvements, I think we should:
Work more on better and complete education of women and girls;
Work more to diminish the rate of unemployment among women;
Support in all means possible the increase of the number of women that possess and manage small and medium businesses; and
Support the expansion of networks or associations of women in businesses.
There are many successful businesswomen in Kosovo. Their courage, their success and their example should represent the guidelines towards success for many women that dream of and aspire engagement in own businesses. It is a really special pleasure to see the example of Ms. Afërdita Saraqini Kelmendi, or Ms. Linda Shala, or Fahrije Maloku, and many others.
We, the women of Kosovo, are especially grateful to the friendly countries and international organizations that continuously support the advancement of women and Kosovar society through concrete advancements, especially USAID, UNDP and the Embassy of Switzerland which have placed a special focus on the advancement of women in business.
In conclusion, I think that we should all join here in expressing our special gratitude to Ms. Mirlinda Kusari-Purrini, President of the Association, whom works with great dedication and devotion at the Kosovo Womens Business Association. This acknowledgment also goes for the Associations Board of Directors.
Thank you and I bid you a successful promotion!
Speech of Minister Justina Shiroka Pula at the First International Conference of Women in Business