The Invest for the Future project unites cross-sector leaders to focus on policy development and information exchange forlong term development of local and regional alliances to promote female entrepreneurship for today and generations to come. We have assembled an impressive list of female entrepreneurs and enablers from across the region. Here is a partial speaker list but additional information can be found using our member directory.
Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-large,
Global Women's Issues, U.S. Department of State
She is the first to hold this position which was created by President Obama in June 2009. Ambassador Verveer and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton conceptualized the original idea of Invest for the Future program to mobilize resources in support of women’s rights and political and economic empowerment in Southeastern Europe and Eurasia.
Leslie Sulenta, Deloitte Consulting
Leslie Sulenta works for Deloitte Consulting, Emerging Markets as Chief of Party for the USAID-funded Partners for Financial Stability Program (PFS). PFS is a regional program that works to strengthen and deepen the financial sector in 12 countries in Southeast Europe and the Former Soviet Union. PFS also has an important component on Access to Finance for SMEs which carries out a number of activities to "bridge the gap" between sources of finance and small and medium enterprises.
Nejira Nalić, MI-BOSPO
Nejira Nalić founded MI-BOSPO in 1996. MI-BOSPO was the first organization to provide microcredit for women in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and has grown to become a leading microfinance institution recognized worldwide. MI-BOSPO exclusively targets women, and serves over 14,000 low-income entrepreneurs.
Dr. Slavica Singer is considered to be the foremost expert on Entrepreneurship in Croatia. She is a pioneer in higher education and leads numerous initiatives to promote the field through local, national, regional and global alliances. Dr. Singer is a professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy and has the designation of UNESCO Chair for Entrepreneurship J.J. Strossmayer University, Faculty of Economics in Osijek.
Mirlinda Kusari Purrini, SHE-ERA
Mirlinda Kusari Purrini is the Founder and President of women's business association, SHE-ERA in Kosovo. She is an economist by profession with a degree in Economics and Finance at the University of Prishtina. Ms. Purrin is active in both business and humaritarian circles with extensive experience in international research and projects.
Sanja Popovic - Pantic
Sanja Popovic - Pantic is one of the founders and current president of the Association of Business Women in Serbia. She has been a key figure in SME development in her country and has come to specialize in training female start up entrepreneurs and supporting them in their first three years. She also researches in the area of marketing and communications platforms in the SME sector.
Roxana Damaschin-Tecu is the Enterprise Development Director for the Central and Eastern Europe region for NESsT, Nonprofit Enterprises Self-sustainability Team. NESsT is a catalyst for social enterprises in emerging markets. They educate and train nonprofits to self-financing operations and invest via social venture capital. Roxana is responsible for the NESsT portfolio in Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia and Romania and further developing their presence and impact throughout the region.
Dragana Radevic is the Director of the Center of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CEED) in Podgorica, Montenegro. She was the lead local economist in developing poverty profiles for Montenegro, along with a World Bank research team. She has extensive speaking and researching credentials and focused her doctoral studies on economic efficiency and social equality.
Katarina Markovic is the head of the managing board at the Croatian Agency for Small Businesses (HAMAG). Under her leadership, HAMAG is playing a key role in enhancing small and medium enterprise performance through hybrid financing and special programs targeted at at supporting both craft start ups and strengthening the competitiveness of industrial frontrunners.
Mirna Marovic is the president of the Croatian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. She is a lecturer in Finance at the Zagreb School of Economics and Management and is pursuing her doctoral studies at the University of Ljubljana.
Atifete Jahjaga is the current and fourth President of Kosovo. She is leading the country with an emphasis on freedom and democracy which is achieved through an active peace movement. She has extensive training from the UK, Germany and USA. Prior to her election as the countries youngest elected president, she held the position of Deputy Director of the Kosovo Police.
Birten Gokyay is head of the Association of Turkish University Women. She is also one of the lead shareholders of progressive Furniture company, Nurus, who is a benchmark of success in cross-border cooperation.
Barbara Bregar Mrzlikar, CEED Slovenia
Barbara Bregar Mrzlikar, MBA is the director of CEED Slovenia (Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development) that supports entrepreneurs by providing know-how and networks they need to accelerate the growth of their businesses, to develop new markets and get access to finance. CEED Slovenia network connects over 200 young and fast growing entrepreneurs. CEED Slovenia is part of the international network of centers in Central and Southestern Europe.
Elizabeta Josipović, SCONTO-PROM
In 1998, Elizabeta Josipović started a furniture manufacturing company with only three workers and one machine. Ms. Josipović recognized an excellent business opportunity with Ikea and her company, Sconto-Prom has now grown to nearly 600 employees in two towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sconto-Prom is a fast growing company and has an excellent reputation for high quality products and export-oriented development.
Katarina Djulic, International Financial Corporation
Katarina Djulic is an Associate Operations Officer at International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group, working on the Corporate Governance Program. She is is also teaching at the Faculty of Economics, Finance and Administration in Belgrade.
Adriana Berberi, Marin Berleti University
Adriana Berberi is the Deligated Administrator at Marin Berleti University in Albania. She is an expert in Public Finance and teaches and consults in the area. With her extensive background which includes serving several terms in government positions to her private business practices, she is a sought after commentator by the media.
Jadranka Boban Pejić, BIOVEGA
Jadranka Boban Pejić is the Chief Executive Officer of Biovega based in Croatia. She is the winner of the EBRD Female Entrepreneur of the Year award for 2011. This accolade comes from her leadership of a company with 130 employees, her expertise in the field of natural nourishment, and the longevity of her career as she celebrated 25 years of successful work.
Jeta Katro Beluli, MILLENITUM WOMEN'S NETWORK
Jeta Katro Beluli is the President of the Millenium Women's Network (MWN). MWN was established in 1997 to promote the political, social and economic empowerment of women in Albania and to combat discriminatory policies against women in the country. Today, the organization represents the largest coalition of Women-focused NGO's in Albania.
Liana Gouta, WOMEN'S ORGANISATION OF MANAGERS AND ENTREPRENEUS OF HELLENIC MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION-MACEDONIA SECTION
Liana Gouta is the President of Women's Organisation of Managers and Entrepreneurs of Hellenic Management Association-Macedonia Section. She is a chemical engineer working at Hellenic Petroleum SA (HELPE), a refining industry, where she is the Change Manager of the 3 HELPE Refineries. She also worked as a Scientific Advisor in European Parliament issues, on Energy, Environment and Regional Development. She publicly speaks and writes on Energy, Environment, Women's Empowerment, Political and Social issues.