Kosovo Businesswomen’s Network is a nongovernmental nonprofit organization that supports businesswomen by providing information, partnership and networking opportunities, training in business, better access to lending and finance, as well as advice on how to overcome difficulties. The Network also advocates on economic development issues of special interest for women. KBWN members are businesswomen or women who would like to start their own business, as well as organizations that work on women’s economic empowerment from all over Kosovo.
KBWN’s activity is guided bythe principle of women’s economic empowerment as one of thekey strategies for achieving gender equality in Kosova.
The idea of a businesswomen’s network started in 2000 as an initiative of businesswomen’s association SHE-ERA from Gjakova and gained support by STAR Network of World Learning. STAR Network of World Learning, with funds by USAID, provides both technical assistance and funding to KBWN Institutional Capacity Building Program.
KWBN functioned as an informal network until early 2003. In spring 2003 the Network registered as a nongovernmental membership organization. This marked the beginning of KBWN institutional capacity building process, as well as of the efforts for expanding and empowering KBWN programs.
A seven-member Board comprised by experienced businesswomen and specialists in economy leads KBWN work. In March 2004 KBWN opened its office in Prishtina. KBWN programs are implemented by Ilire Rizvanolli, Program Manager, with guidance and support by Mirlinda Kusari, KBWN co-founder and Senior Advisor.
To better serve its members KBWN is currently developing an Information Dissemination System, which will provide continuous and effective information to Network members and all other individuals and organizations interested on issues of women’s economic empowerment. This information will include changes in the legal framework related to economic issues, public programs and policies related to women’s economic empowerment, loan and credit opportunities, training opportunities and experience exchange inside Kosova and abroad, as well as opportunities for developing joint businesses.
The KBWN office has operated until 2006 when it was forced to close due to lack of funding.
Currently SHE-ERA has activated KBWN through its web page so that women entrepreneurs in Kosovo can have the opportunity to benefit and continue being part of the programs and services and expand and strengthen their network. The management is working to expand Network’s membership and further develop its relations with partner organizations and donors.