Women have a really active participation in the innovation processes and significantly contribute to the positive results of the companies that are supported by FITD. More importantly, they are encouraged to work on new development projects that contribute not only to the development of their own company, but also to the development of the domestic economy.
Macedonian women are also actively involved in innovative processes, technological development and positive growth of the business sector in the country. The ratio with their male counterparts may not be 50-50, but the prognosis is optimistic.
The programs of the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development do not differentiate the companies that are owned and / or managed by men or women, but there are many examples where women are recognized and appear as successful entrepreneurs, managers, leaders, innovators and the like.
The Fund is open to all those who want to introduce something new, to improve an existing product, process or service and to realize them through the support mechanisms and instruments that are available to them, say the officials of this Fund. Their motto is “Anyone who believes in their business idea should and can take advantage of the support offered through FITD instruments.”
The fact that almost one third of the total number of companies supported by the Fund are owned by women or have a female manager is inspiring. That is about 40% of the total portfolio of this Fund.
FITD officials encourage women to present their ideas and projects and seek help and support to implement them in the realm of the realm.
“What is gratifying is that the percentage of women entrepreneurs who apply for various instruments of the Fund is constantly growing, and I expect this trend to continue in the future. From these figures it can be seen that women have a really active participation in the innovative processes and significantly contribute to the positive results of the companies that are supported by us. “What is even more important is that they are encouraged to work on new development projects that contribute not only to the development of their own company, but also to the development of the domestic economy,” said Tanja Ilijevska, Head of Analysis, International Cooperation and Support Programs. of the private sector ”at FITD.
Apart from Skopje, there are women from other parts of the country who are active beneficiaries of the offer from the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development, and are dominant primarily in Internet technology.
“If we analyze the industries in which these projects are implemented, the IT sector dominates, followed by engineering, food processing, energy and energy resources, education, electronics, construction, textile and leather industry, ecology, biochemistry, creative industry and others. Of the total number of supported projects from companies that are managed or managed by women, 62% or 68 projects are from companies registered in Skopje. This percentage coincides with the general economic picture in the country in terms of concentration of activities in the largest percentage in the capital. “Besides Skopje, in our portfolio of supported companies managed by women, there are companies from 14 other cities, including Stip, Prilep, Bitola, Strumica, Kocani, Ohrid, Sveti Nikole, Vinica and Debar,” explains Ilijevska.
In the past few months, the Fund through its campaign “Creating Success Stories” presented the successes and results of companies that are financially supported and among them there are many companies led by women. The goal is to inspire less courageous women by promoting positive examples!
“For example, we have the company” For Lady “which has a unique innovation – biohygienic and biodegradable aloe tights, which not only nourish the feet, but also affect the environment, because they decompose ten times faster than standard. “Then we have the Stratumrid company, which is working on a project related to neuromarketing and was our first company presented at the international forum in Davos, which is, among other things, a result of networking opportunities and connection with potential foreign investors and potential partners provided by the Fund.” says Ilijevska.
The Fund, not only through financial, but also technical and mentoring support helps all companies and potential applicants and users and works intensively on building the capacity of the business sector in order to become attractive to foreign investors, but also to provide facilitated access to the markets and of course to realize their profit, ie commercialization of the results.
Given that the last two and a half years have significantly increased support for private sector innovation through various instruments of the Fund, the position of the country on the regional map is improving.
“I can say that we are seeing improvements in that segment as well. As I said, the fact that about 40% of the user companies are managed or owned by women indicates that we have also contributed to the change of the “mind set”, but also that only through concrete measures can things change for the better. “, Assesses Ilijevska.
Success stories, as a rule, are connected by the same “success scheme”. Persistence, creativity, dedication, but also self-confidence and self-sacrifice, although it sounds like a cliché, always give results.
“As with everything else, perseverance, self-confidence and commitment are key. At the same time, the fear of failure should not be allowed to be a limiting factor due to which we decide not to take action. Innovation in itself means a kind of “distortion”, positive of course, so our task is to encourage everyone to start thinking “outside the box” and work on ideas that “disrupt” the market. On the other hand, I do not really recognize the division of things into “male” and “female”, concludes Ilijevska.
FITD alone so far has an investment portfolio of about 65 million euros, and over 343 companies are already using funds for innovation and technological development. The fund is recognized as a successful example in the study prepared by the World Economic Forum, where they recommend that the FITD model from our country be replicated in other countries in the region.