Western Balkans Women Entrepreneurs of the Year

What is it about?

It is our pleasure to announce that the nomination process for the Western Balkans Women Entrepreneurs of the Year 2023 has begun!

Launched in the framework of the Common Regional Market Action Plan 2021-2024 and RCC Women Economic Empowerment Agenda, this Initiative aims to recognise women who have started and developed their own businesses and contributed to new and sustainable jobs for other women and men in our region.

Choosing only six among last year‘s numerous great nominations was not an easy task, but Dhurata, Zagorka, Mirjana, Elki, Snjezana and Marijana carried this prestigious title Western Balkans Women Entrepreneurs of the Year 2022 proudly and justifiably, and we are certain this year will be no different.

The prosperity of the Western Balkans greatly depends on the vital contributions of our female entrepreneurs. Dedication, hard work, innovative thinking and steadfast commitment of women entrepreneurs across the region truly supports the growth of our economies, helping our communities 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 a change.

Who can nominate?

RCC invites individuals, representatives of public and private institutions, Chambers of Commerce, Business Associations and regional and international partner organisations from the Western Balkans to nominate women entrepreneurs for the Western Balkans Women Entrepreneurs of the Year 2023 in the categories presented in the next section.

If you know a woman entrepreneur that:

  • has developed a company with cleaner technologies, provides products and/or services that reduce environmental damage, minimize pollution and resource use, enhance product lifecycle and/or that has adopted training programmes for emerging green jobs;
  • has developed a well-known company related to Arts, Culture, Design, Fashion, Lifestyle, Crafts;
  • has developed a business in the ICT sector and/or embraced ICT to embark on technology and innovative solutions for the local market or beyond;
  • has developed a company in the tourism sector and contributes to the tourism promotion of one or more of the region‘s economies, promotion of traditional products, provision of recreation and entertainment through nature-based activities, etc.;
  • a young woman entrepreneur (up to 35 years old) who has demonstrated an innovative business solution or a product/service with regional impact and visibility;
  • has launched and/or developed her business by using the power of social media.

Just Click on the blinking button NOMINATE, fill out the form and that is it.

The nominations are open until 26 February 2024.

Who is eligible?

Any woman that is a citizen of the Western Balkan region and owns a business in the suggested categories operating in Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia or Serbia.

Categories

The RCC welcomes nominations for women entrepreneurs (WE) from the Western Balkans in the following suggested categories:

  • WE who has developed a company with cleaner technologies, provides products and/or services that reduce environmental damage, minimize pollution and resource use, enhance product lifecycle and/or that has adopted training programmes for emerging green jobs
    (Green Woman Entrepreneur)
  • WE who has developed a well-known company related to Arts, Culture, Design, Fashion, Lifestyle, Crafts
    (Artistic Woman Entrepreneur)
  • WE who has developed a business in the ICT sector and/or embraced ICT to embark on technology and innovative solutions for the local market or beyond
    (ICT Woman Entrepreneur)
  • WE who has developed a company in the tourism sector and contributes to the tourism promotion of one or more of the region‘s economies, promotion of traditional products, provision of recreation and entertainment through nature-based activities, etc.
    (Tourism Woman Entrepreneur)
  • A young woman entrepreneur (up to 35 years old) who has demonstrated an innovative business solution or a product/service with regional impact and visibility
    (Young Woman Entrepreneur)
  • WE who has launched and/or developed her business by using the power of social media
    (Social Star Woman Entrepreneur)

The RCC will select 6 (six) women entrepreneurs, one from each - Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia - that are fulfilling characteristics of the abovementioned categories.

Selection process

First phase: Call for Nominations

The call for nominations will be open until 26 February 2024, inviting nominations through the application form. During this phase individuals, representatives of public and private institutions, Chambers of Commerce, Business Associations and regional and international partner organisations are invited to nominate women entrepreneurs.

Second phase: The judging panel

RCC will establish a judging panel to select the winners based on the data collected through the digital application form. The panel will be composed of seven members, representatives of women entrepreneurs‘ networks and/or chambers from Western Balkan economies and one representative of RCC.

During this phase, the judging panel will evaluate and decide based on the following criteria:

  • Fulfilment of the criteria as presented in the suggested 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 2023);
  • Number of nominations received.

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 judging panel reserves the right to select one woman entrepreneur from each, Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, and depending on interest shown on the suggested categories;
  • the decision of the judging panel is final.

Who NOT to nominate?

Be careful! The jury will not consider:

  • Nominees (women entrepreneurs) who have previously received a grant or award in past RCC activities.
  • Nominees (women entrepreneurs) who currently hold an active contract with RCC at the time of nomination.

Third phase: Final Event

The winners will be informed in due time and asked to provide a video pitch, pictures and/or short profiles of their business experience.

The winners will have the opportunity to participate in the Final Event.
More information on the date and venue of the Final Event will be published soon.

Benefits for the winning women entrepreneurs
  • Receive publicity regionally and beyond through RCC channels;
  • Participate and contribute to the Regional Network of Women in Entrepreneurship (RNWE) established to support women entrepreneurs in the Western Balkan region. RNWE enables networking, partnerships and promotion of women entrepreneurs aiming to enhance their access to markets, finance and mentorship opportunities;
  • Be invited to various RCC events to showcase their success stories;
  • Receive on-demand mentorship support through a dedicated digital mentorship platform.

 

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