Second International Forum on Women Entrepreneurship in Sofia, Bulgaria

Second International Forum on Women Entrepreneurship was organized jointly by the Bulgarian Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAWE), BPW Sofia, Bulgaria and the Executive Agency for Promotion of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. The event took place at Sheraton Sofia Hotel Balkan on December 2nd and 3rd of 2011 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The event was well attended and among the guest were Mr. Traycho Traykov, Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, Mrs. Mariyana Velkova, Executive Director of the Executive Agency for Promotion of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Mr. Tsvetan Simeonov, Chairman of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerse and Idustry, H.E. Judit Lang, Ambassador of Hungaria to Sofia, H.E. Sheila Camerer, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to Sofia, Representative of the Embassy of the Netherlands to Sofia, Dr. Michael Angerer, Commercial Counsellor at the Embassy of Austria to Sofia, Representatives from Turkey, Mrs. Tiziana Carlino, Italian Chamber of Commerce to Sofia to BPW Sofia, Bulgaria members, Mrs. Eufemia Ippolito, Attorney at Law and President of BPW Italy, Mrs. Giusy Ruggieri, member of BPW Italy, Ms. Anastasia Victoria Safarian, Young BPW International Representative and women entrepreneurs and business owners.

This two-day forum aimed to encourage women business leadership and presence at managerial level, while openly addressing women entrepreneurship status. Day 1 was an open  forum discussion and beginning a statement a by Dipl. Eng. Radka Stamenova, Chairwoman of BAWE and President of BPW Sofia, Bulgaria, addressing equal treatment of genders along with women’s initiatives in entrepreneurship. During the opening address everyone highly praised the initiatives of the forum. H.E. Judit Lang, Ambassador of Hungaria to Sofia, reminded everyone that although we are facing economic crises the role of small and medium-size entrepreneurship is growing.  The Representative of the Embassy of the Netherlands to Sofia praised women’s ability to make connections between different sectors and turn those connections into sustainable businesses. Dr. Michael Angerer, Commercial Counsellor at the Embassy of Austria to Sofia, shared best practices from tax legislations that promote entrepreneurship advantages that women entrepreneurs have in Austria. Mrs. Eufemia Ippolito, Attorney at Law and President of BPW Italy, brought the attendees’ attention to the growth of women’s entrepreneurship in Italy.  She also spoke about Women’s Empowerment Principles initiative promoted by BPW International in partnership with UN Global Compact and UN Women that strongly supports and advances the status of women within the workplace.

At the end of the discussions participants voted to put into practice the following principles: narrow collaboration with government and NGOs, organization of training and seminars, establishment of business networks, dissemination of knowledge and ideas to small cities among many others. This will be soon available on the Bulgarian Association of Women Entrepreneurs website. The consensus was that although obstacles will be encountered and results will not always immediate, is should not discourage the joint effort to build awareness about the topic and promote women’s entrepreneurship.

During Day 2, Business to Business meetings took place and participants were able to meet, exchange business contacts and make personal and business connections while networking in a congenial atmosphere.  The forum was interesting and successful.  I found it a true pleasure to learn, observe and participate in the discussions about the future of women’s entrepreneurship, while interacting and meeting successful business women in various genres.

Greetings from Sofia,

Anastasia Victoria Safarian

Young BPW International Representative (2011-2014)

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