Entrepreneurs from Slovyansk discussed how to overcome barriers in women-led businesses

The CUTIS project in cooperation with regional chambers of commerce and industry launched a series of #SheChampion seminars. The main goal is to discuss barriers women entrepreneurs face in business and international trade, as well as share experience in entering foreign markets.

On March 4, in cooperation with the Donetsk Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the first #SheChampion seminar was held in Slovyansk, bringing together more than 20 participants.

Women entrepreneurs discussed gender issues in international trade, new trends in the Canadian markets and shared success stories of finding new partners in foreign markets.

Natali Ivanova, Women’s Entrepreneurship Development Activities Coordinator by Donetsk Chamber of Commerce and Industry, welcomed the participants of the event. She described what kind of activities the Committee of Women’s Entrepreneurship conducts.

Vira Porovska, an expert on gender issues of the CUTIS project, talked about CUTIS gender component: SheChampion meetings and SHEforSHE Mentorship Program and presented a general report of the gender analysis of small and medium-sized businesses in 5 industries. Gender stereotypes, socially anticipated female behaviour, double burden, and conflict of professional and private roles were at the center of discussing gender barriers faced by women in export activities.

Two successful businesswomen – the founder of Praniville creative workshop Natalia Rak and owner of AB.Zabava Art ceramics & art workshop Hanna Butko shared their experience of creating a business from the very beginning. The stories of women are quite illustrative as they both were forced to start over because of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

In 2014, Natalia Rak moved from the occupied part of Donbas to Druzhivka where she started making cookies. Trial consignments were bought by friends and acquaintances. Now, prianivil.in.ua is an established small business specialized in unique recipe confectionery. The company is considering expanding its product line.

Until 2014, Anna Butko worked in a consulting firm. After the company ceased its operations, the woman had to find other ways to make her living. She found comfort in her creative work. Anna began to study the secrets of pottery. Now AV.Zabava Art products are known in many countries of the world, including Ukraine, the Czech Republic, and Poland.

Kateryna Vitkovska, trainer, discover the secrets of successful work on the Etsy online platform. Kateryna created her own KvitkaBags brand and sells textiles and handbags all over the world. Kateryna Vitkovskaya also told about reputational risks for sellers, which may entail refusals of sales, negative feedback, etc.

In the second part of the event, the participants had the opportunity to improve their recruiting skills – Vira Porovska held a master class on attracting new specialists to the company.