Western Balkans Women Entrepreneurs of the Year
In the framework of the Common Regional Market Action Plan 2021-2024 and RCC Women Economic Empowerment Agenda, the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) is launching the Western Balkans Women Entrepreneurs of the Year initiative, one that will hopefully become a tradition, to recognise women who have started and developed their own business and contributed to new and sustainable jobs for other women and men in our region.
Women entrepreneurs are vital contributors to the prosperity of the Western Balkans. Their hard work, innovative thinking and unwavering commitment truly helps our economies grow and our societies thrive. Through this initiative, it is our intention to give a humble recognition to those brave and fierce women who dared to fight stereotypes and make the change.
The RCC welcomes nominations for women entrepreneurs in the region for the categories presented below.
Anyone can nominate. The RCC invites individuals, representatives of public and private institutions, Chambers of Commerce, Business Associations and regional and international partner organisations in the Western Balkans to nominate women entrepreneurs for the Western Balkans Women Entrepreneurs of the Year for the categories presented in the next section.
If you know a woman entrepreneur that:
- Has embraced green technological innovations, investments in energy efficient systems, green methods of production, aiming to reduce environmental risk, minimise pollution and resource use;
- Has developed a well-known company related to Arts, Culture, Design, Fashion, Lifestyle;
- Has developed a company with positive socio-economic impact, overcoming successfully the challenges COVID-19 pandemic brought to Travel and Hospitality Industry;
- Has demonstrated support in fighting stereotypes and tackling COVID-19 pandemic challenges by creating decent employment opportunities for the under-represented, vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, such as Roma women;
- Has recently established a start-up (1-to-3-year business), demonstrating innovative solutions and growth potential;
- Is a young woman entrepreneur up to the age of 30, demonstrating economic empowerment and innovation?
Just Click on the blinking button NOMINATE, fill out the form and that is it.
The nominations are open until 4th March 2022.
Any woman that is a citizen of and owns a business in the defined categories (please see below) that operates in Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.
The RCC will select 6 (six) women entrepreneurs to be presented with the Western Balkans Women Entrepreneur of the Year recognition in 6 categories:
- Green Woman Entrepreneur
dedicated to women entrepreneurs that have developed or embraced green technological innovations, investments in energy efficient systems, green methods of production, aiming to reduce environmental risk, minimise pollution and resource use
- Creative Woman Entrepreneur
dedicated to women entrepreneurs that have developed a well-known company related to Arts, Culture, Design, Fashion, Lifestyle
- Travel and Hospitality Woman Entrepreneur
dedicated to women entrepreneurs that have developed a company with positive socio-economic impact, overcoming successfully the challenges that COVID-19 pandemic brought to the Travel and Hospitality Industry
- Roma Woman Entrepreneur
dedicated to women entrepreneurs demonstrating ability to fight stereotypes and poverty by creating decent jobs for the under-represented, vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, such as Roma women, while transitioning from conventional to digital and facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Startup Woman Entrepreneur
dedicated to women entrepreneurs with a recently established start-up - 1 to 3 year-old business - demonstrating innovative solutions and growth potential
- Young Woman Entrepreneur
dedicated to young women entrepreneurs up to the age of 30, demonstrating economic empowerment and innovation
First phase: Call for Nominations
The call for nominations will be open from 12 February 2022, inviting nominations through the application form until 5 March 2022. During this phase individuals, representatives of public and private institutions, Chambers of Commerce, Business Associations and regional and international partner organisations can nominate women entrepreneurs.
Second phase: The judging panel
RCC will establish a judging panel (jury) to select the winners based on the database of nominees and data collected through the digital application forms. The panel will be composed of 7 (seven) members, representatives of women entrepreneurs’ networks and/or chambers from WB6 economies and 1 (one) representative of RCC.
During this phase, the jury will evaluate and decide based on the following criteria:
- Fulfilment of the criteria as presented in the Recognition Categories;
- Women entrepreneurs that have started and registered their businesses legally, at least one year before the nomination (latest date of registration by 31 January 2021);
- Number of nominations received;
- Women entrepreneurs have not received any grant or award in the previous RCC activities;
- Women entrepreneurs that do not hold an active contract with RCC at the time of nomination.
Please note that:
- the judging panel has the right to move an application to a different category, if they feel it is more appropriate and/or is in the applicant’s interest;
- the decision of the judging panel is final.
Third phase: Public Event
The winners will be informed and asked to provide a video pitch.
The winners will have the opportunity to participate and present their businesses in the Regional Conference, which will take place in a hybrid format in Tirana, Albania, on 11th March 2022.
The winners will be pronounced and presented at the Regional Conference for Women Entrepreneurs in the Western Balkans event on 11th of March 2022 in Tirana, Albania, which will gather women entrepreneurs from all over the region, including the decision-makers, academia, and representatives of international organisations.
- Mentorship support for up to 20 days during a period of 5 months.
- Membership and contributors status at the Regional Women Entrepreneurs Hub (RWEH)
- Promotion through RCC communication channels
- Invitation to various RCC-organized events to showcase their success stories.
If you have any questions, please contact us at RCC_WERecognition@rcc.int
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence