Women’s Entrepreneurship in Tourism

Dubrovnik, March 15 – 17, 2002

This event was the most challenging to date for DESA but it has also proved to be our greatest achievement. The moderator of this seminar-workshop was Mme. Lucija Broznan who is a highly respected expert in the field marketing and communications, as well as the longest-standing honorary DESA member.

During this three day seminar – workshop, 30 attendees not only became familiar with current professional business theories, but also gained practical knowledge of the business world. Lectures were presented by local and county government representatives concerning the various steps and procedures one must accomplish when starting one’s own business. The seminar was rated as an extremely beneficial tool for the local community while the choice of presented topics, the professionalism of the moderator, the lectures and the guest speakers were all particularly praised as exceptional. This workshop was innovative in that for the first time, attendees had an opportunity to present their own business ideas and to compete for an award (a non-refundable financial stipend) that would help cover the start-up costs of the three the most viable projects.

The financial sponsor of the seminar was “The STAR Network of World Learning” from Zagreb. Prior to the seminar DESA established a working group with this organization in order to promote and facilitate local entrepreneurship. Members of this working group included representatives from the city of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik – Neretva county, the center for entrepreneurship in Dubrovnik, the Employment bureau of Dubrovnik, the Dubrovnik tourist board, “Effect” (a private consultant company for business plans) and a representative from NOA (a potential creditor). This working group met on March 28, 2002 and choose three projects that will each receive a non-refundable financial stipend in the amount of Kn. 10,000.00 each.

DESA gained financial support for these entrepreneurial endeavours from various sources including Kn. 17,000.00 from the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik – Neretva County, the region of Konavle and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board. DESA also received additional funding from other local sources in order to help meet our Kn 30,000.00 need. The remains had to be supplied out of DESA’s own operating funds. As of May 03, 2002 three of the winning entrepreneurs received their stipend and begun their businesses. The established working group was apponinted to monitor their businesses for a period of one year.

DESA wishes to thank City and County government representatives as well as media representatives for their cooperation and help concerning this project. Their participation and advice greatly enriched the seminar which is now regarded as the first concrete example institutions and NGOs working together to resolve major problems in the local community.