EBRD invests in women entrepreneurs of Central Asia

By Elena Akhmedova

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is pleased to announce the upcoming Symposium of Women Entrepreneurs of Central Asia and Afghanistana platform for high-level dialogue between the public and private sectors. The event will take place on 27 and 28 March from 09.00 till 17.00 in the conference hall of the National Library of Tajikistan in Dushanbe city.
 
The symposium will bring together more than 200 women entrepreneurs from Central Asia and Afghanistan. Parliamentary representatives from Central Asian countries will also attend, as well as staff of development agencies, international and local financial institutions, and the media.

The symposium aims to draw attention to the challenges faced by businesswomen and to discuss these issues.

Topics are expected to include changes in the business environment, and identifying and overcoming key problems (such as limited access to information, lack of financial resources and training, unsupportive policy and regulatory frameworks).

The symposium will also provide a platform for discussions with high-level policy-makers, local and international experts. Participants will have the opportunity to contribute their ideas on policy-making processes.

A varied programme for the event will give entrepreneurs a chance to apply for presidential grants aimed at helping women in business. They will also work on building a database of women entrepreneurs for Tajikistan and will learn about good business practices from international experts. Participants will also have an opportunity to learn how to set up and manage their own businesses, understand mobile banking and work on proposals for an inclusive legal framework for women entrepreneurs.

In addition, the National Association of Business Women of Tajikistan (NABWT) will announce the winners of the competition for Best Business Plan among Young Entrepreneurs 2013, and will launch the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year - Farah 2014 competition.

Gulbakhor Makhkamova, General Director of the NABWT, commented on the importance of the event: “We see a strengthening of women’s roles in the Tajik business sector. Women entrepreneurs are becoming more visible and gaining confidence. Our association has been promoting women entrepreneurs for over 20 years but this is the first time we’ve received such a high-level recognition. This symposium will be dedicated to connecting, celebrating, and promoting women in business.”

“Putting the needs of women entrepreneurs on the policy agenda, and ensuring that the EBRD’s reform efforts in Tajikistan deliver for them, is part of the Bank’s renewed commitment to gender under the Strategic Gender Initiative (SGI),” commented Michaela Bergman, EBRD Chief Social Counsellor.

Since the approval of the SGI in April 2013, the EBRD has been working to improve the gender impact of its operations. It seeks opportunities to improve women’s access to finance, employment and services, particularly in Central Asia, the southern and eastern Mediterranean, and Turkey.