At the conference „Brave. Strong. Important.“, LIDL Serbia officially intoduced participants of the project that goes by the same name, which aims to support female entrepreneurs, whose products will be found on the shelves of LIDL stores, starting from October 6th.
On that occassion, the results of research were presented which showed unfavourable position of women entrepreneurs in Serbia, as pannelists agreed that women have great potential to be of help for society, but that they need wholesome support.
Reasearch conducted by LIDL and foundation of Ana and Vlade Divac, shows that there are still not enough women in entrepreneurship in Serbia – only 33% of entrepreneurs are women and only 25% of companies are owned by women.
Aware of the fact that it is harder for women to find their way towards consumers with their products, company LIDL Serbia in month of March, organized the contest „Brave. Strong. Important.“ with intention to support and strenghten the progress of female entrepreneurship in Serbia, as well as to enable placement of goods for these successful women throughout the chain of their stores. 26 were chosen among couple of dozens who signed up for the contest.
„I am proud of the fact that we successfully implemented the project and that we will offer products from the food, nutritional supplements or cosmetics segment, of domestic production, produced by women. Our female entrepreneurs have products of exceptional quality, and from the moment of application until now, we have come a long way so that the products can be found in Lidl’s offer – as a result, we have over 30 products.”, said Milica Stevanović, CSR in the Procurement sector of LIDL Serbia.
The research of Divac foundation showed that factors that are affecting the small number of women entrepreneurs in our country are varied and usually related to the fact that they have a harder time obtaining bank loans, sources of finances, are less socially networked, affected by sex segregation in education, unable to harmonize bussiness and private life, as well as being the object of stereotypes and prejudices. Furthermore, those who go along the way of entrepreneurship usually set up micro and small companies – 99% of all women entrepreneurs.
“We all have to make changes together, in order to provide a more favorable environment for the development of small businesses, to equalize the rights of female entrepreneurs with the rights of working women, to facilitate an efficient exchange of information on this topic, to organize transparent contests to support the work of female entrepreneurs, etc.”, said Marija Jovanović in front of Ana and Vlade Divac foundation.
Every female entrepreneur who was chosen for the project „Brave. Strong. Important.“ was awarded with special accolades for their commitment.
„It’s a big thing to enter a large trade chain – you become visible, have product placement, feel the market, and the knowledge gained through the preparation process is especially an invaluable experience. Lidl associates were very helpful, polite, timely in their feedback and I got the experience I needed. I would definitely apply again”, said Jelena Todorović, owner of „CosmoSkin“ DOO and participant in „Brave. Strong. Important.“ project.
As part of global initiative for betterment of status of women at work, company LIDL Srbija signed „United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles“, whereby it publicly committed itself to respect and promote the principle of equality within the company, as well as where its operations can have an impact.