In February CEED Slovenia concluded the selection of the 24 women entrepreneurs for the WE Inspire: Women Entrepreneurs Inspire program, which is designed to support women entrepreneurs at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey and those who are already active in their entrepreneurial projects and endeavors. Over 100 entrepreneurs applied and the selection process took into consideration the entrepreneurs’ business model, market potential and entrepreneurial abilities.
CEED Slovenia launched this project in early 2017 in a partnership with the US Embassy in Ljubljana with the aim to establish a supportive environment in terms of education and individual support for the implementation of business ideas. This program intends to support young women, women who remain unemployed at the end of maternity leave or towards the end of their careers, women with disabilities, women belonging to different ethnic groups or minorities and immigrant women.
U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia, Ambassador Brent R. Hartley attended the launch and wished all the participants success. The WE Inspire program is funded by the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues as part of their Full Participation Fund. Through this program the State Department has committed more than $ 70 million to local organizations in 85 countries around the world. Barbara Bregar – Mrzlikar, Director of CEED Slovenia emphasized that entrepreneurship is the best tool to create your own occupation out of your passion and later on successful and inspiring Slovene women entrepreneurs shared their experiences directly with participants. The world renowned master chef and star of Netflix series Chef’s Table, Ana Roš, shared her story of incredible success in a very sincere way, as a highly educated and prosperous diplomat who decided to work in a kitchen in a very small town in Slovenia. She pointed out that at the end it is not important weather you are a woman or a man on the demanding entrepreneurial path, but there is a difference in the support you get from your environment in many ways – from own family to wider society, and your children sometimes get to sleep in the kitchen while you are still working – coming from a woman who has just been awarded World’s Best Female Chef 2016. Angelika Mlinar, member of the EU Parliament and founder of the Angel biscuits, highlighted the tremendous importance of supporting women to become independent and embark on the path of entrepreneurship. CEED Slovenia mentors like Barbara Humar, Tita Destovnik and Saša Gorše, all shared their amazing personal stories of success as they emphasized different challenges in all stages of entrepreneurial path. After sharing their stories, all participants had a chance to prepare and introduce their business ideas.