Women’s Entrepreneurship EXPO aims to empower female businesses in Europe and Central Asia
NUR-SULTAN – UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, launched the first regional women’s entrepreneurship exhibition for Europe and Central Asia with virtually the participation of women entrepreneurs from 12 countries from April 27 to 29. Some 150 women entrepreneurs from Kazakhstan also participated in the exhibition.
More than 23 sectors including the apparel, fashion and retail, education and training, food and agricultural production industries were represented at the event. Entrepreneurs also had the chance to further present their business via the exhibition booths, available online throughout the virtual event. They received professional coaching to develop and refine the sales pitches for their own business plans and product ideas.
In her opening speech, Alia El-Yassir, UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, noted that the pandemic was having a disproportionate impact on women entrepreneurs.
“As the world begins to emerge from the impact of COVID-19, businesses must work on female entrepreneurship as part of their recovery plan. We need a recovery that includes measures to secure women’s incomes, provide opportunities to develop livelihoods and strengthen economies. We need an inclusive recovery that helps women resist and cope with the shocks of COVID-19, ”she said.
To support women entrepreneurs at the regional level, it is recommended to open direct financial lines for low interest loans for female businesses, to stimulate the care sector to encourage small female businesses, care for women. children, care for the elderly and care for the disabled. There is a need to expand business training and financial literacy and include women in value chains.
Entrepreneur Aida Kaumenova, who represented Kazakhstan at the exhibition, said that women’s economic empowerment is essential for the progressive society of the future. “We need more women and girls in all walks of life so that they can realize their own potential and have the opportunity to find their way. I am happy to be able to financially support not only my family, but also the women of my country. Over 95 percent of our staff are women, ”she said.
The exposure is one of the response measures to support the region where a quarter of self-employed women lost their jobs during the pandemic. Organizers believe that “the show will connect women entrepreneurs with national and international companies, investors and mentors to help them take their marketing ideas and businesses to the next level.”
The Expo is funded by the Government of Japan.