Promoting Women’s Entrepreneurship
September 28, 2012
Among my top priorities here in Slovakia is to do what I can to encourage entrepreneurship and elevate the status of women in society. Promoting women’s entrepreneurship addresses both these important issues. Secretary Hillary Clinton is also passionate about this issue and has set a key policy goal of advancing women’s entrepreneurship internationally.
A recent study shows that Slovakia has one of the lowest rates of women’s entrepreneurship in Europe, with women representing only 28% of Slovak entrepreneurs. However, I believe that women’s entrepreneurship is not only a gender equality issue, but an economic one. Unlocking the enormous potential women have to start and grow companies can inevitably lead to job creation and economic growth. And I fervently believe there is superb potential in Slovakia, if it receives the right encouragement and nurturing.
One great example of an effort to recognize this talent is the annual Top 10 Slovak Businesswomen award presented annually by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Hospodarske Noviny. For our part, the U.S. Embassy is hosting a Women’s Entrepreneurship Forum on October 15 to bring Slovak entrepreneurs together to network and learn from the success of others. Our keynote speaker will be Jennifer Kushell, the dynamic founder of YSN.com (Your Success Network), a leading destination for career exploration and development tips, tools, and resources for young professionals and entrepreneurs aspiring to take their careers to the next level. We expect this not to be just another conference but rather a springboard for continued networking and interaction with a series of American female entrepreneurs we will bring to host workshops with Slovak counterparts throughout the coming year.
As a former entrepreneur myself, I feel passionately that women in both the U.S. and Slovakia need encouragement from all of us to succeed, and that their success means a stronger economy for both countries. I encourage you to share your good ideas for topics or speakers for our forum at our Facebook site USA and Slovakia.