Who are the women driving the Bosnia and Herzegovina startup community?
Some of the crucial roles in Bosnia and Herzegovina's entrepreneurial ecosystem are held by women. We are exploring who are these ladies and how are they boosting the local ecosystem?
We have noticed an exciting trend in the Bosnia and Herzegovina entrepreneurial ecosystem - the role of females has increased in the last few years. Women are now in key positions in the ecosystem - as PO managers, startup promoters, and very successful entrepreneurs.
Looking at the Bosnia and Herzegovina startup community in 2020, we have noticed that it managed to survive the global COVID-19 crisis's first strikes. It was resilient and vigorous enough to adapt to the new circumstances.
While analyzing the entire ecosystem, we have noticed an interesting trend that we haven't spotted before - the influence of women is very prominent now. We have noticed this tendency in a few different areas.
1. Our Partner Organizations are run mainly by women
Most of our POs have a diverse structure. Still, it is fascinating to see that the number of females in key roles is increasing continuously. At the end of 2020, there are five extraordinary ladies in leading management positions within key startup and entrepreneurship supporting organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina:
- At HUB387, Jovana Musić is a managing director. She is also a co-organizer of an independent meetup in Sarajevo and co-founder and managing director of ACADEMY387.
- In Foundation 787, we have Dajana Džindo as co-founder and executive director. Dajana is also an expert in supporting women in business.
- In Mozaik, Vesna Bajsanski-Agic is the CEO for over 10 years now. On top of that, Vesna is also a certified Social Justice coach.
- At Intera Technology Park, Mateja Arapovic is coordinating projects focused on startups and entrepreneurship.
- At Startup Grind Sarajevo, Mirna Dragaš and Alema Pelesić are the core team members. Both are active on sarajevo.tech blog as well.
2. Leading startup promoters in the ecosystem are female
Each ecosystem needs to have a person who is connecting the dots and help different communities and organizations work together. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Alema Pelesić is that person. She is also our team member and dear colleague. Besides her Swiss EP engagement, Alema is also running the Startup Grind chapter in Sarajevo (together with Mirna Dragaš). She assists a few community initiatives as a community builder and supports startups in different ways.
Another person who is highly involved with community activities is Zana Karkin. Zana is the founder of Bazerdžan, a concept store aiming to preserve Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina's rich heritage as a marketplace for unique, traditionally inspired modern and innovative products. Zana is also a co-founder of doIT, an organization that showcases tech and empowers the community through organizing conferences and community-driven projects.
3. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs are women
A story that was very popular in different media in 2020 was about Erna Šošević, Bizbook founder. Since Erna officially established her company in 2020, she instantly became a role model and a very positive example of female entrepreneurship in the country and beyond.
Besides her business success, Erna is also trying to bring new value to the entire community by organizing a women-only support program. Together with Alema, Erna gathered a group of female founders who engaged actively in a 5-week "Business Planning 2021" program with Swiss EP expert Barbara Fischer to improve company performance.
These are the women who are currently shaping and boosting Bosnia and Herzegovina's Startup community. Their role is crucial, not only thanks to the positions they are holding, but as role models and inspirations to the future generations of girls who are stepping into the business scene. It is our honor to support and help them on their individual and joint missions.