Western Balkans Women Entrepreneurs of the year 2021

Western Balkans Women Entrepreneurs of the Year

Category: Young Woman Entrepreneur
Blerina Ago, owner of Active Albania from Albania

Blerina Ago is the founder of Active Albania, an innovative tourism company that offers active holidays in the Western Balkan region. With AA, Blerina is working to boost sustainable tourism, contributing to the development of new tourism products with a small impact on the environment such as packrafting, kayaking, birdwatching, snorkelling, etc. In 2020 Blerina developed virtual travel show Blerina Travels in Quarantine, sharing past travel experiences, aspirations, predictions and advice with various experts worldwide on how tourism will look during and after COVID-19. She is the author of 3 digital campaigns Albania: Unparalleled, Exceptional and Authentic; Stay Safe Now and Visit Albanians Later; Be Taken by Albania. Blerina is committed to saving the natural ecosystem of Osum Canyons from the construction of hydropower plants, in close cooperation with the national and international community. She stands up for strengthening cooperation of tourism sector in the region, exchanging best practices and contributing to the drafting of legal framework for active tourism in line with international standards.
More about Blerina: www.activealbania.com, www.instagram.com/activealbania


Category: Green Woman Entrepreneur
Aida Zubcevic, owner of Faveda, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Behind the private property company Faveda is entrepreneur Aida Zubčević, Master of Pharmacy, owner and director of the company. Her vision was to produce plant-based medicinal products and she created a unique brand recognisable primarily by its quality and thus by excellent efficiency.
Together with her team, she is constantly working on educating women from rural areas aiming to strengthen the rural economy and raise awareness on the importance of proper consumption and protection of natural resources.
Today, Faveda has 10 employees, 50 subcontractors and exports to a number of countries, including distant Australia.
More about Faveda: www.faveda.ba


Category: Creative Woman Entrepreneur
Valentina Taseva, owner of Semos Education, North Macedonia
Valentina Taseva is the owner of one of the biggest IT training providers in South East Europe with over 110.000 people who have successfully completed the training. Semos Education operates since 1995 in over 34 countries globally with over 140 experts and over 400 courses offered to businesses, governments, customers and students starting their IT, creative and business careers. The company develops a system of IT education and certification as an informal education increasing the level of computer education and digital skills of its customers.
More about Semos education: www.semosedu.com
More about Valentina Taseva: www.linkedin.com/in/valentinataseva


Category: Travel and Hospitality Woman Entrepreneur
Dragana Calija, owner of Saint Di, Serbia
Saint Di is a Solutions Delivery company founded in 2013 by Dragana Čalija. It provides Consulting, Solutions Delivery, and Product Development. The primary focus is on web and mobile solutions and also includes an in-house product for Restaurant & Hospitality, called OrderEngine, enabling simpler and more efficient ordering process. OrderEngine has managed to increase digital literacy of older population in the hospitality industry by switching them to a mobile app-based ordering systems. The Covid-19 pandemic refocused the company’s B2B (business-to-business) direction into the B2C (business-to-consumer) strengthening the company and bringing it from Serbian to international market.
Saint Di also believes in returning to society, and it deems important to help those less fortunate through means of donation, teaching new skills and helping in any other way possible.
More about Saint Di: www.saintdi.com


Category: Roma Woman Entrepreneur
Pakize Pajazitaj, owner of Craft Business, Montenegro
Pakize Pajazitaj is one of the business owners under the umbrella of Montenegrin Business Incubator – a unique place in which nine Roma and Egyptian adults are employed as entrepreneurs aiming to promote legal employment and decrease grey economy. Through the incubator, Red Cross of Montenegro (RCM) provides free of charge registration in relevant institutions, free space for work and tools and materials, covers utility costs, and in cooperation with the Municipality of Podgorica, provides free accounting services. Pakize attended a 3-month course, learning the basics of sewing, after which she started her own business. She is producing baby and adult bad sheets and covers, woman clothing and curtains. In addition, Pakize adapted her business to the market requirements and is now also making face masks for adults and children. Most of her customers are people from RE community, but she strives to expand the business and make it more visible through marketing tools.
More about Pakize Pajazitaj and the Business Incubator: www.ckcg.me/otvoreni-biznis-inkubatori-za-romske-i-egipcanske-preduzetnike-na-koniku


Category: Startup Woman Entrepreneur
Arta Shehu Zaimi, owner of Labbox, Kosovo*
Arta Shehu Zaimi is the owner of Labbox, offering a learning experience in electronics and computer engineering for kids of age 8+.
More about Arta Shehu Zaimi and Labbox: www.labbox.education


* 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