In Belarus there are no barriers to female entrepreneurship and cottage industry, Belarus Economy Minister Vladimir Zinovsky said at the international conference “Women's Entrepreneurship as a precondition for sustainable development”, BelTA has learned.
Vladimir Zinovsky noted that in the near future approaches to doing business will be systemically simplified. He praised the role and potential of women in the economy.
“The problems faced by women when starting a business in different countries vary. In my opinion, there are no legal, cultural and religious barriers to women's entrepreneurship or cottage industry in Belarus. Any enterprising person, regardless of gender, is free to realize themselves in business,” the economy minister said. “Women-entrepreneurs bear a double burden: at work and at home while fulfilling their family responsibilities. Not all men will be able to cope with such a burden, he added.
"Belarusian women have access to a range of support tools helping them to implement their plans," Vladimir Zinovsky said. "This is, for example, the program of the Belarusian Development Bank on the support of female entrepreneurship in the regions of the country. The program provides women with credit resources at reduced interest rates. Within the framework of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development initiative, women can use not only financial support but also education, consulting and information services. The Belarusian fund for the financial support of entrepreneurs supervised by the Belarusian Economy Ministry also provides support," he added.
Vladimir Zinovsky stressed that the programs supporting women's entrepreneurship are not just grants or subsidies but an effective economic tool. "We need to support those who have ideas for the economic growth and business sector development," the minister said.
The forum is held as part of the Sustainable Development Weeks 2017. It has brought together representatives of government agencies, research organizations and business. The forum is expected to develop proposals on the measures to support female entrepreneurship in Belarus. Special attention is paid to the ways of promoting the gender economic equality as one of the important conditions for sustainable development. Gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls was declared one of 17 sustainable development goals until 2030 at the UN Summit on Sustainable Development (New York, 2015).
The forum is set to consider the state support of female entrepreneurship: promotion of employment and self-employment, easing access to financial resources. Another important topic for discussion is female social entrepreneurship in the context of the inclusion of people with disabilities. The participants of the forum will also get acquainted with the German experience in matters of women's leadership role in achieving the sustainable development goals. The breakout sessions are to discuss gender equality as a prerequisite for sustainable economic development; the role of women in partnership: business, public organizations, power; and social entrepreneurship through the prism of gender equality.