Vrnjačka Banja, 17 April 2024

EU support to women and young entrepreneurs

Women and young people, 45 of them, from economically disadvantaged municipalities will venture into new entrepreneurial waters. With the support of the European Union of over 360,000 Euros, extended through EU PRO Plus programme, these women and young people are enabled to empower themselves. The Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, Plamena Halacheva, along with Ivana Đurić, a representative of the Ministry of European Integration presented yesterday the grant awarding certificates for these entrepreneurs in Vrnjačka Banja.

"EU support to small businesses - which are the backbone of economic growth - takes various forms, but we do place a special emphasis on women and youth". She said that nurturing entrepreneurship among youth and women especially in areas with greater economic needs is more than just economic empowerment. "We know that when women entrepreneurs prosper, they are more likely to invest in their community, be in education, children's health or intergenerational solidarity. The ripple effect of their success directly enriches the local economy and contributes to positive changes in their community, as we witness with all the projects showcased today. We need to celebrate the achievements of female and young entrepreneurs and promote them as positive role models and source of inspiration", said Plamena Halacheva, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation. She added that through programmes such as EU ProPlus, the European Union seeks to extend its support to every corner of Serbia, ensuring opportunities for growth and development. 

Ivana Đurić on behalf of the Ministry for European Integration stated: "The support of the European Union to young and women entrepreneurs in starting and improving their small service and production businesses shows that they are the drivers of healthy economic development in local areas. Serbia and the European Union are here to support all those who, responding to our call, have shown dedication, innovation, but also courage to develop their business ideas, to improve operations and the quality of products and services. This initiative also contains a particularly important component because it will also have a wider positive social impact. All the supported companies have chosen their own way of doing socially responsible business, that is, to directly help their fellow citizens in local communities, either by donating to socially disadvantaged groups, supporting sports clubs, kindergartens, schools or participating in environmental protection actions.”

As noted by one of the new entrepreneurs, Ksenija Stojanović, the concrete EU support is the wind beneath the wings of Serbia’s entrepreneurs supporting both business ideas and the progress of local communities. "We will provide a healthy snack for school children, employ women from harder-to-employ categories, and take care of the environment," said Ksenija Stojanović.

The Deputy Head of the EU Delegation, Plamena Halacheva, also visited additional projects that the municipality of Vrnjačka Banja has implemented with the EU support of over a million Euros.

"The European Union continuously assists local communities and the three projects we visited in Vrnjačka Banja showcase how this support concretely contributes to a better quality of life for Serbian citizens. Among the results we witnessed today are the housing solutions for Roma and socially vulnerable families, enabling them to live a decent life; the energy rehabilitation of the municipal building, allowing it to cut its CO2 emissions by half and lead by example; as well as the ongoing works on the bridge over Mala Reka, which testifies of our wide-ranging support to local communities and solidarity towards Serbia, including following the floods", said the Deputy Head of the EU Delegation Plamena Halacheva.

"These are concrete benefits that Serbian citizens have from European integration - better quality of life, improved and renewed local infrastructure. Our task at the Ministry of European Integration is to coordinate aid, but also to strengthen the capacities of local administrations, civil and private sectors for applying and implementation of European projects”, said Ivana Đurić on behalf of the Ministry of European Integration. 

"Without the support of the European Union, the municipality would not be able to implement these important projects for our citizens,” said the Mayor of Vrnjačka Banja, Boban Đurović.

In Vrnjačka Banja, the Deputy Head of the EU Delegation Plamena Halacheva also closed the "EkoBiz Forum", conference organised by the Association of Citizens "Cap with a Smile, recalling that social responsibility and environmental protection are high on the agenda of the European Union. She expressed her appreciation to the organisers of the conference for recognising the importance of sharing best practices in the field of environmental protection, raising awareness, opening dialogue and creating space for learning from each other for a better and greener world.

She recalled the ambitious goals of the European Green Deal, reflected in the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, and the multifaceted EU support to Serbia in this field, ranging from multimillion investments in key infrastructure such as waste water treatment plants and landfills, through providing technical assistance to the national institutions on nature protection and bringing national legislation in line with European standards, to supporting green innovative ideas and community projects that create jobs and promote sustainability.