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1
Urednica: Anastasia Jelašić
Naziv publikacije: Pearls of Excellence
Recenzentkinja: mr Sanja Popović - Pantić
Izdavač: Udruženje poslovnih žena Srbije
Dizajn i priprema za štampu: AT HAUS
Štampa: NG Studio
Tiraž: 1000
ISBN: 978-86-910351-5-0
Beograd
mart 2011.
CIP - Каталогизација у публикацији
Народна библиотека Србије, Београд
005-055.2(497.11)
005:061.2-055.2(497.11)
005:061.2-055.2(430)
PEARLS of Excellence / [urednica
Anastasia Jelašić]. - Beograd : Udruženje
poslovnih žena Srbije, 2011 (Beograd : NGStudio).
- 60 str. : fotogr. ; 22 cm
Tiraž 1.000. - Str. 4: Foreword / Sanja
Popovic-Pantic. - Str. 5: Dear readers /
Christiane Stapp-Osterod.
ISBN 978-86-910351-5-0
1. Јелашић, Анастасиа [уредник]
a) Удружење пословних жена Србије
(Београд) - Чланови b) Удружење пословних жена
(Франкфурт) - Чланови c) Пословне жене - Србија
COBISS.SR-ID 182231820
2
Foreword
About Association of Business Women in Serbia
4-5
6
About jumpp
34
35
7
Afrodita Bajić - AFRODITE MODE COLLECTION
8
Anke Chouadli-Franck - BALANCEA
36
Ana Jovanović - KROJAČ
9
Barbara Naumburg - WORKSHOP FOR FURNITURE...
37
Biljana Jovanović - LUNA
10
Birnur Öztürkck - Petek Business Network
38
Biljana Trifunović - IFA
11
Dr. Brigitte Wiemann-Djafari - Psychiatrist - Psychotherapist 39
Branislava Gajić - INFOSTUD 3
12
Carolin Munte, Stefanie Gröne - MAIN VEGETABLES
40
Divna Minić - DAS HAUS
13
Claire Labigne - Labigne interpreting
41
Dragica Božinović - NOVITAS
14
Claudia Arnold - ARNOLD OFFICE
42
Gordana Đurđević - SLOVO
15
Claudia Zamponi - parasol-words
43
Dr Jasmina Knežević - BEL MEDIC
16
Doris Schüßler - DORIS SCHÜSSLER CONSULTING
44
Ksenija Fekete Cvetković - AL GROSSO
17
Eileen McDonald - ENGLISH TO THE POINT
45
Ljiljana Stanojević - STANOJEVIĆ
18
Helga Lauw, Ulrike Friedrich - O.PEN OFFICE
46
Maja Enis - ENCO BOOK
19
Jeanet G. Bruining - WINE HIKING TOURS
47
Marija Ivanković Jurišić - MARIJA HAND MADE
20
Jennifer Moritz - SCHRAEGER FUERST
48
Maruška Topalović - STUDIO MARUŠKA
21
Katja Schommartz-Koerdt -ALL ABOUT FAMILY
49
Mila Litvinjenko - AURA
22
Kerstin Lichtblau - Artist
50
Miroslava Jovanović - NOVEX
23
Dr. Maike Höch - Veterinary Practice
51
Nataša Marković - GALEB GROUP
24
Maria Puskic - Technical drafting for heating and plumbing
52
Nataša Pavlović Bujas - BLUMEN GROUP
25
Miriam Klemke - TAUNUS GARDEN PLAN
53
Sanja Veljković - LOGO
26
Monika Weitz - BUSINESS TREE
54
Snežana Matić - ELLA
27
Nadia Qani - AHP Home care service Nadia Qani
55
Tatjana Vučićević - ART-IVAL
28
Sonia Diaz - Sonia Diaz Photography
56
Tatjana Jevđević - BEAUTY IMAGINI
29
Sonja Laubach - SCOVENTA PUBLISHING COMPANY
57
Tijana Sekulić - AT HAUS
30
Susanne Dessaive - MEDIANETCOM Agency
58
Vera Šćepanović - TRIVIT GROUP
31
Sylvia Ebert - CITYGAMES
59
Vesna Jovanović - ASIST CENTAR
32
Zinnet Peken - KONOLINO – Nomad tent for kids
60
3
Dear readers,
This is the type of almanac of female entreprenurship
which developed as a result of the joint project of two
similar associations of women entrepreneurs. Reading
these success stories, you will notice that, just like in
the familiar story about the similarity among “all happy
families” which are “happy in the same way”, there are
also similarities among the successful women in their
excellence.
Persistent work, talent, willingness, courage...it’s a long
list of the features that create the excellence of our
“pearls” presented in this book. The only differences
which we can notice belong to the different business
environment in which they started to build their paths
to success. Women in Serbia stepped into the world of
entreprenurship mostly as necessity-driven entrepreneurs due to the social and economic obstacles during the 1990s, compared to their German colleagues,
where the chance-driven approach prevailed.
4
However, by the time they were telling their stories for
this publication, entrepreneurship was no longer perceived as a necessity but as a chance, a challenge and
the best choice. It seems that as never before, they are
closer to each other, not only for the opportunities that
are opened for new businesses, but also for the obstacles imposed by the global economic crisis. This project
has made us closer and shaped our final aim - networking and cooperation.
WE Create Opportunities and Solutions for W.E. (Women Entrepreneurship) in Serbia is the acronym of our
project but also our spiritus movens.
Power is in networking and networking brings power.
Therefore, let this publication be a common ground for
your mutal cooperation, on your mutal interest.
With best regards,
Sanja Popovic-Pantic, M.A.
President
Association of Business Women in Serbia
Dear readers,
Starting a company was the right choice, as we can see
from the profiles of the resourceful personalities who
have gotten their concepts off the ground. Discover
the originality of women who decided to become selfemployed, whether it is through their business ideas or
sheer motivation. You will see: women start-ups stand
out with their authenticity, creativity, innovation, customer focus and integrity.
Business women are more and more interested in forming business partnerships that they know are stronger
and more sustainable in the global marketplace. And with
the internationalization offered by today’s technologies,
women entrepreneurs can now look forward to a successful, solid and profitable expansion of their businesses.
Christiane Stapp-Osterod
Executive Director and President
jumpp - Ihr Sprungbrett in die Selbständigkeit
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Our Objectives:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Association of Business Women (ABW) in Serbia
was founded in 1998 by ten young women who
were convinced that there was a place for a dynamic business network to encourage women
to start up their own companies.
Set up as a not–for-profit , non-political, nongovernmental organization, ABW now boasts
nearly 200 members throughout Serbia. ABW
members include those who are self-employed,
running micro-firms, to women business owners
with companies employing over 100 people.
•
Increase the number of women start-ups
Raise awareness and reinforce the visibility
of women business owners
Encourage existing woman-owned companies
to expand their businesses
Provide a forum where women entrepreneurs can
exchange ideas and increase their business contacts
Influence the development of public policies
which are favorable for SMEs
Strengthen local, regional, and international
ties among women entrepreneurs
Promote social responsibility and a high
standard of ethics in business
Activities:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Training for women entrepreneurs, owners
of currently active businesses and for women
would-be entrepreneurs/start-ups
Mentoring programs
Monthly networking meetings
Advocacy with policy makers and cooperation
with state institutions on SME issues
Research and publications
Annual awards for best women entrepreneurs
Regional and international networking
The share of enterprises with women as both owners and managers in the overall number of business
entities was around 17% , which is some 18,855 female companies in absolute numbers.
The share of enterprises with women as owners or co-owners is bigger – 25.7%.
We believe that data which indicates women as both owners and managers is more realistic.
In 2009, the share of female enterprises in the overall number of business entities increased by
5.2 percentage points as compared to the year 2008, while compared to the year 2007, there was an
increase of 4.2 percentage points in 2008.
6
7
If you feel like having entrepreneurial
spirit, let it come out
came all the difficult moments thanks to a lot of effort,
persistence, and learning from our mistakes”, says the
business woman who has a degree and qualifications
for practicing law. “Our major success up to now is that
we managed to save the company, to develop it in a
difficult environment on our own and with very little
support from outside.”
Following her entrepreneurial spirit, Afrodita Bajić
left her job as legal representative of a major textile
manufacturing company and entered the world of
entrepreneurship with her husband in 1989. Today
this mother of a daughter and two sons is co-owner
and deputy director of the company “Afrodite Mode
Collection (AMC)”, with 121 employees and two production plants for the manufacture and sale of women’s
fashion clothing.
“There were countless difficult moments in my career… I could write a book about it. However, we over8
Over the years, AMC Company has won numerous
awards and recognitions such as “Zlatna košuta” (Golden Doe) at fashion fairs, awards for the best collections
at Fashion Selection, and Serbian Chamber of Commerce annual awards to the most successful companies.
Association of Business Women in Serbia also recognized her with the “Success Flower” award for the best
model in employing women within her company.
Afrodita Bajić also attributes her company’s success
to its dedication to corporate social responsibility and
caring for people with special needs. The company
has been employing disabled persons for the past ten
years. From her own experience she sends the message
to “foster your entrepreneurial spirit, be very patient,
optimistic, have positive energy, work on your personal
development and above all – persevere.”
www.amcafrodita.rs
It is the right time to take life
into your own hands
After turning 30 and working in managerial positions
in marketing and PR in both government and the private sector, Ana Jovanović realized that she wanted
her name to stand next to the projects that she had
designed and implemented. “At that age you are still
young and strong enough to take an important step into
private entrepreneurship. It is the right time to take life
into your own hands”, she explains. “Today, Krojač is
one of the top Serbian web designers according to the
number of realized web projects and recognition in this
field”, explains the executive director of her company, a
web design company that has been present on the local
market since 2003.
Her husband played the crucial role in her decision to
become an entrepreneur and they are still each other’s
main support. Now, they are going further. They formed
the Tailor’s School of Web Design and are about to form
a new company, Krojač Softver (Tailor’s Software), sticking to the slogan “With enough smiles and good will –
challenging, creative, inspirational.”
Her greatest pleasure is the credibility and good image
they have built, establishment of the Tailor’s School of
Web Design and the many awards won by them and
their clients. “We have created more than 200 internet
presentations and won all important awards and recognitions in the IT domain. We are founders and coordinators of the first domestic internet gallery of CSS design
(www.CSSdizajn.com) and the first internet souvenir
shop in Serbia (www.SuveniriSrbije.com)”.
“We actively use social networks for promoting our
company and services”, says Ana Jovanović One of
the projects they have been working on is Ebaza/
social-business network intended for linking businesspeople and companies in all business fields.
Through the contacts they have made, they look forward to larger cooperation with foreign partners.
www.krojac.com
9
We are trying to make women feel
more beautiful and self-assured
The “Luna” brand is for self-assured women who are
aware of their quality and who do not conceal their
femininity but enjoy it, like the owner and director of
the company, Biljana Jovanović. “Luna is my first job.
The company was established during my last undergraduate year. As the company developed my business
experience developed, too”, she says. “I started dealing
with fashion primarily to assist my mother who quit her
job in a socially-owned company, where she had worked
as a seamstress. Slowly our responsibilities divided
in a natural way: my mother took care of production,
while I dealt with all other ‘small things’ necessary for a
company to live and grow.”
10
Eighteen years later Luna exports its line of women’s
clothing and accessories to several European countries.
Nevertheless, “everyone who has ever tried to be in
independent business knows that every new day brings
relentless struggle”, explains the entrepreneur who has
a degree in IT system organization. “Only in difficult
moments do you become aware of how you have
worked and what you have built, and what your
relations with business partners really are.”
The internet and social media are vital for Luna’s communication with business partners and customers as a
responsible international brand. “The word ‘impossible’
should be deleted from the vocabulary, and for every
problem besides option A one should have plans B, C...”,
concludes Biljana Jovanović.
www.fashion-luna.com
We take full responsibility for financial
transactions of the company
It was actually journalism that had been her childhood
dream come true. However, at the same time she was
covering and interviewing government ministers and
directors of big companies, Biljana Trifunović had a
bookkeeping agency. “My father, an entrepreneur
himself since 1963, was my first client. I had kept his
books and his colleagues’ books since my student days.
I developed my business and had many clients before my
son was born”, she describes her entrepreneurial start.
Today her IFA-International Financial Agency offers
complete financial consulting, from professional
accounting services with automatic data processing to
all kinds of foreign trade transactions.
“Due to responsible and professional business
operations, our cooperation with some clients has developed into much more than business partners – we
have become close friends”, as she proudly points out
that she has been working for some companies for
14 years continuously.
“I believe that being a woman entrepreneur is a big
challenge worldwide, even bigger in Serbia. It is difficult
for clients to get used to the fact that a woman solves
their serious financial problems. Fortunately, there
are ever more women like me” observes the director
and co-owner of IFA. “I consider my greatest success
to be that up till 1990, in former Yugoslavia, I was the
first person – before any man – to carry out a foreign
investment project worth 10 million USD.”
www.ifa.co.rs
11
I am surrounded by positive people
who work for themselves, assume
responsibility and create their reality
“I never doubted that Infostud would become a serious company, as it is now”, explains Branislava Gajić,
Director of Infostud. “I have been with the company
from the very beginning when it was formed in late
2000, but only in 2004 did I decide to work full time,
even though my first wage did not cover my cost of
living”. Today, Infostud is a leading internet company
in Serbia, managing and developing its own websites.
There are seven websites in the group, from those
dealing with employment and education to those with
automobiles and travelling, having developed greatly
from her brother’s initiative to bring together people
willing to develop a website dedicated to education.
12
The political science graduate, specializing in
journalism and communications, does not pay much
attention to being a woman entrepreneur in Serbia,
saying only, “I simply do my best”. She is much more
eloquent when speaking about successes achieved,
“I would now emphasize that I have a job that I like very
much and that I am surrounded by positive people who
work for themselves, assume responsibility and create
their reality. Also, our starting team which consisted
of a few founders, volunteers, has grown into some
55 employees. And we achieved it all from Subotica,
where our headquarters are located.”
www.infostud.com
Only trust, strong perseverance
and very hard work
After many years of employment in Eurosalon, where
she acquired great experience in the field of interior
design and furniture, Divna Minić understood that
there was nothing left to learn by working for others.
In 2004 she became independent and established
her own company DAS HAUS. The beginning was
promising: “the period until 2008 was very
successful and promising for HAUS. We decided that we
needed bigger and more elite premises than the ones
we were occupying at the time, so we moved into premises three times bigger.” However, the renovation and
move were completed at the same time as the global
economic crisis reached Serbia at beginning of 2009.
“Only trust, strong perseverance and very hard work
have helped us remain a key player in our branch
during the past two years”, admits the entrepreneur
with a degree in architectural engineering.
HAUS is a unique furniture sales and showroom in
Serbia, whose concept is to present designer
furniture. Its team of architects render their assistance in
equipping premises, from conceptual design to complete interior equipment (key-in-hand). All elements
displayed in HAUS have their own story; behind each
story there is a well-known and worldwide-recognized
architect and “prototypes of some pieces of furniture
that we have are in the MOMA Museum in New York
and in other famous museums.” Over the past five
years, a large number of people have passed through
HAUS. “Our role of ‘educator’ is important, so that
now there are a number of customers who appreciate
design and architecture and who had not previously
heard of Eames, the Bouroullec brothers, Pantone and
other great persons who left a mark on the design of
the 20th and 21st centuries. I believe that this is at least
a small merit of HAUS”, says Divna Minić proudly.
www.haus.co.rs
13
An entrepreneur should strive to maintain
her ‘emotional’ and ‘rational’ balance
1993, the year of massive hyperinflation in Serbia,
was a turning point for Dragica Božinović. As a 33 year
old professional with a degree in economics and nine
years of work experience, she became aware of the
uselessness of giving her maximum in an environment
that reflected a general lack of care and negligence.
“Wholesale and retail trade was what I knew best”,
she recalls, “after spending all those years ‘practicing
business’ in the socially-owned trading company where
I worked.” With one-third of her last salary left in her
purse, she and her husband started the Novitas Company, a trading business.
14
Today the company operates in 24 locations, in two
shifts, 363 days a year, with a chain of supermarkets
employing 170 employees, out of whom 140 women. “We strongly focus on the ongoing education of
employees, and much attention is paid to our social
responsibility in the local community, in the areas of
health, education, culture and sports. The company is
also engaged in developing environmental awareness
of employees and customers through the recycling of
cardboard packaging and plastic bags”, explains the entrepreneur.
“The entrepreneurial path has not always been easy”,
emphasizes Dragica Božinović while remembering the
first investment into her own premises and the abrupt
decline of Serbian banks. This businesswoman believes
that her main success is the fact that she managed
to endure exceptionally strong competition, without
having any development subsidies. She advises young
women entrepreneurs to follow their intuition, to
do the job they like, to learn daily and develop their
professional skills.
www.novitas.co.rs
It is not important to know answers
to all the questions, it is important
to recognize the path
What do you do if a company which was established
two centuries ago is up for sale? What about if the purchase price includes technologically obsolete equipment and production for which there is no more demand? This was exactly the question facing Gordana
Đurđević ten years ago, when the company where she
had been working as a commercial manager was up for
privatization. But while others saw a decrepit institution, she recognized an opportunity for self-realization
and became the co-owner and director.
and an MBA, “but Slovo d.o.o. Beograd is the first and
only company in which I found myself professionally
developing.” Through the process of market research
and consultations with scientific institutions, she transformed the company. Today it is a house of creative design, rendering full service in the field of signage, from
consulting and designing to assembling and production.
Gordana Đurđević is particularly proud that there were
no lay-offs during the successful transformation of the
company’s production activities. “The employees became aware of their own vision and mission”, she recalls. “And at the beginning, it is not important to know
answers to all questions, it is important to recognize the
path”, she advises young women entrepreneurs.
“I encountered difficulties from the very beginning”, admits the entrepreneur with a background in economics
www.slovo.co.rs
15
private health services in Serbia, with 100,000 registered
patients throughout three locations offering primary
health care as well as hospital and surgery activities.
The doctor and entrepreneur set two main goals.
“In the first place, I wanted to offer not only top
medicine but top service as well, more humane and
oriented towards the desires and needs of patients.
The second goal was to support the development of
the private sector in Serbia. We take an active part in
changes of legal regulations and in creating a better
business environment.”
“Those were war years in our country and my husband and I thought that we must take initiative and
do something or leave the country. We decided to stay
here and fight”, recalls Dr. Jasmina Knežević, a pediatric pulmonologist who was the head of the ward in
Dedinje Children’s Hospital for Pulmonary Diseases.
So in 1995 she started her private business. “I decided to
take this step because when working in the state institution
I could not have any impact on changes. I set high
goals both to myself and to my clinic”, explains the
entrepreneur. Today Bel Medic is the leader in
16
Unfortunately, however, Jasmina Knežević is not
satisfied with the State’s stance toward her work and
the work of her colleagues in the field. “The most difficult moment for me was when I understood that the
State, actually the Ministry of Health, does not support
private initiative and views the private sector as
competitors”, she explains. After the ministry
introduced several measures that jeopardize the private
sector concept, Dr. Knežević banded together with other
private health providers and filed an application
with the Constitutional Court. “We are expecting the
solution one of these days…The Minister is withdrawing
his decision”, says the fighter.
www.belmedic.com
The most important is not always
the profit but surviving and preserving
the job and working team
“Working as a social worker I mastered principles of
good communication, which greatly helped me in the
business that I am doing now”, says the social worker
turned entrepreneur, Ksenija Fekete Cvetković. Her motivation for changing career paths included not only the
single mother’s desire to provide for her family, but also
her wish to have an independent, dynamic, creative job
where she can achieve results. “I started as an owner
of several independent trade shops and a small restaurant, and afterwards I established and developed my
own private foreign trade company.”
Today, AL GROSSO is a foreign trade company which has
been operating for 18 years with the import, export,
trade, representation and distribution of foodstuffs on
the Serbian market, and Montenegro as well. For the
purpose of further development and improvement of
business operations, a few years ago it merged with the
French company MAYFERE. Now this joint venture company is cooperating with companies all over Europe,
being the sole distributor of more than 15 foreign and
domestic confectionery companies. The company has
developed and markets its own local health food brand
– BIOTIKA.
“There were moments of crisis and serious falls.
Unlike other European entrepreneurs, we have a rich
experience in fighting for survival under almost impossible circumstances, such as sanctions, war, poverty, legal
and political instability. We overcame difficult moments
by being flexible, by adjusting to the circumstances that
emerged. Behind the vision and skills of an entrepreneur there is always her team as well’, she explains.
Ksenija Fekete Cvetković is optimistic when advising
young people who wish to become entrepreneurs: “Be
bold and enter the business world. Set your goals high,
focus on success, arm yourself with optimism, learn
continuously, work diligently and persistently, do not
give up your vision.”
www.algrosso.com
17
What does not kill you
makes you stronger
“I wanted to make decisions freely and be independent”, describes Ljiljana Stanojević of her decision to
become an entrepreneur. Before deciding to start her
own business, the graduate engineer in organization
sciences was employed in a local screw factory where
she was responsible for technical control, planning
and commercial operations. With the support of her
family and business partners, she decided to apply her
knowledge and acquired skills in her own production
and trade company “Stanojević”.
She has two goals in her business: continuous
improvement of business processes, and achieving
18
satisfaction of service beneficiaries and employees.
It is this emphasis on service and satisfaction, she
insists, which has enabled her to hold onto some of
her customers for as long as 20 years. “We have passed
together through most difficult periods, such as the
1999 bombing”, explains owner and director of the
company dealing with metal processing and trade and
services of screws, bolts and spare parts.
Ljiljana Stanojević frankly admits that frequent financial controls hinder her work. Nevertheless, she does
not lose self-confidence and her message to young
entrepreneurs is to “learn constantly, develop your skills,
and pay special attention to good practice examples.”
www.stanojevicva.co.rs
Association of Business Women
in Serbia is another impetus to be
stronger together
Parents and their small readers recognize the distinctive
Enco books: quality printed books for the youngest children from 0-3 years of age, creative picture books with
pull tabs, and also fun quiz books for older children.
The publishing house ENCO BOOK consists of a small
team of educators and designers who are continuously
in touch with children and their teachers through workshops in schools, teachers and libraries.
After gaining experience as a kindergarten teacher and
as a technical secretary, Maja Enis united her two loves
of children and books to establish a private publishing
house for children’s picture books. “The most difficult
moment is right now because it is the time of transition, many companies go bankrupt and are then unable to pay their debts. The legal system in Serbia does
not work very well and we cannot collect the debts”,
explains the owner and director. However, she advises
young people to decide for entrepreneurship anyway.
“If you choose the job you like and put a lot of effort
into it, success will not fail. You should not expect it to
come immediately, and you should trust yourself.”
Despite the difficulties in running a business, Maja Enis
is pleased because of the joy the books bring to little
ones. “Our books are recognized all over Serbia. Children gladly read them and play with them. I believe this
is the greatest success.”
www.encobook.co.rs
19
Items which make us happy when
we look at them!
“With the assistance and support of my mother,
I jumped into the world of entrepreneurship”, says the
owner of the artistic workshop Marija HAND MADE.
“First, though, we obtained valuable information about
start-ups at seminars and workshops organized by the
Association of Business Women in Serbia, which I found
to be a great support to private entrepreneurship.”
“When I realized after graduation, in my first job, that
I could not earn enough to support myself in Belgrade,
my parents suggested that I move back home to Šabac”,
explains Marija Ivanković Jurišić who studied design
technology and fashion design. She quickly gained
diverse experience by working for a small private
company manufacturing small series of clothing, as well
as designing several collections for a casual clothing line
to be mass produced in a larger factory.
20
Today, Marija HAND MADE is a workshop for making
“items which make us happy when we look at them, enjoying their beauty while wearing them or giving them
as a gift to others”, describes the entrepreneur. These
items, including garments but also applied items and
souvenirs made by hand, are created using techniques
of hand weaving, crocheting, knitting and embroidery. “The best and most interesting part of being an
entrepreneur is meeting like-minded people who
decide to buy my products”, she admits. According to Marija Ivanković Jurišić, “it means that we
build a closer relationship with customers, where
both parties must know each other better, so that
both of them can enjoy the finished product.”
www.marijaivankovic.com
Buyers are our inspiration and
extravagance is our goal
of ‘the chosen’. Not having possibilities to study abroad,
I was left to my own resources and my ambition”,
explains the artist and entrepreneur.
“It makes me happy to know that tens of thousands of
women and men are wearing my products, thus proving
that those who consider me the greatest Serbian silk
painter are right”, quips Maruška Topalović. For almost
two decades she has been uniting elegance, imagination and style with top materials in her studio.
Her entrepreneurial start was spontaneous. “I applied
to the Academy of Applied Arts five times! At that time
only five students from all over Yugoslavia were admitted to this prestigious place and I was not in the group
Difficulties arose when business started to develop
more seriously. “When business expanded and substantial funds were invested in modern equipment, we encountered problems with both the suppliers and servicing, as well as with the equipment!”, Maruška Topalović
recalls. “However, you can get over everything when
you are aware that your work makes someone beautiful and has made his or her day brighter”, she adds.
www.studiomaruska.com
21
I had to start from scratch and get
acquainted with all segments of
business operations
“My job is dynamic, creative and challenging. Given that
it has nothing to do with what I studied, I had to start
from scratch and get acquainted with all segments of
business operations, from production, sales and bookkeeping to marketing, development and investments”,
admits Mila Litvinjenko, general manager and owner
of the AURA Company. Dissatisfied with her job as a
French teacher and interpreter, she founded a company
dealing in the production and trade of cosmetics.
The entrepreneur believes that her wise selection of
associates helped from the very beginning. “I selected people who were at the beginning of their careers
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and we learned together. Those people are still with
me, committed and loyal collaborators.” However, not
everything at the beginning went smoothly….like when
the tax administration mistakenly withdrew a large
amount of funds from the company accounts! “We did
not manage to get the funds back, but they served as
advances for the next year. Luckily, although we were
beginners in business, our commercial bank was very
supportive and granted us a loan”, she explains.
Today, Mila Litvinjenko recognizes that Aura would
not exist without her dedicated employees and
customers who recognized the quality of our
products. “We constantly keep in touch with our clients,
as well as with end users. We follow trends in cosmetics and continuously invest into new programmes.”
www.aura.co.rs
Luckily for us, the number of women
entrepreneurs is growing, which is
encouraging for Serbian economy
Top quality leather, hand made items, modern design
and functionality are elements that have distinguished
Novex products and made them successful for 20
years. The downturn in the Serbian economy and economic sanctions in early 1990s accelerated Miroslava
Jovanović’s decision to start her own business. “I was
sure that we would overcome problems in our economy
much more easily if we relied on our own strengths, i.e.
knowledge, skills and courage, which were critical at
that time”, recalls the entrepreneur who has a degree
in economics. After working as a sales specialist, dealing with the import and export of mass consumption
goods in a foreign trade company, she and her husband
formed Novex, specializing in hand made leather products for women, men and business accessories.
According to the entrepreneur, “our biggest success
comes from satisfied clients who have been showing
their trust by cooperating with us for many years, and
make it possible for us to have an impact on the development of their brand through our products.”
“The present business period is the most difficult one
because it is provoked by the world economic crisis”,
admits the business owner. However, she is a firm believer in networking, making new contacts and being
well-informed to overcome the existing situation. The
message Miroslava Jovanović gives to young women
who are undecided about whether to start their own
business is to “build good business relations and network with as many business women as possible. I truly
believe in the woman-to-woman business support.”
www.novex.rs
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Young women entrepreneurs
primarily must trust themselves
and their skills, in which way half
of the job is already done
business degree abroad, she was actively involved in
the family business.
Nataša Marković comes from an entrepreneurial home
where she was included in the company’s operations
since she was a child. “Given that I had a chance to work
in my parents’ company, my brother and I assumed part
of the responsibility in the business operations after
secondary school and during our studies. I had a chance
to work and be promoted and I believe that I used the
opportunity in the best way”, says the general manager
of Galeb Group based in Šabac, which is involved in a
wide range of activities including trade and production
of metal packaging, thermal paper and GPS technology.
Even during her studies, when she was acquiring her
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The business woman does not distinguish between male
and female entrepreneurship, but rather believes that
the general position of entrepreneurs is difficult due
to the situation in the country. “Considering that the
state is being financed mainly from the private sector, it
would be high time for it to change its harsh treatment
of entrepreneurs”, she adds.
Nataša Marković is thankful that her success has been noticed by the company’s 1,100 employees and in the business community. She has received great satisfaction from
awards she recently received for best woman entrepreneur from the Regional Chamber of Commerce in Valjevo
and from the Association of Business Women in Serbia.
www.galeb.com
Mission in encouraging research,
creative and entrepreneurial
spirit of clients
How did the graduate in chemistry Nataša Pavlović Bujas
find herself in the world of communications and in the
position of director of Blumen Group? “My first position out of university was the one I had always wanted.
Working with students as a faculty assistant and dealing with science was more than inspirational. However,
I expected much more from myself and from others
than the circumstances offered in the 1990s”, says the
entrepreneur. And a family business was created.
Blumen Group has been providing services in business consulting, communication and goodwill and
reputation management for more than a decade. Owing to long term cooperation with many cultural institutions and their results, the company has won many
awards and it sees its mission in encouraging the
research, creative and entrepreneurial spirit of its
clients. “Clients trust us; they get attached to us.
The average length of cooperation with our clients is
three years”, she describes the importance of relationship building. And this relationship building, respect and reputation, which are not easy to acquire
and maintain in this field, according to Nataša Pavlović
Bujas, proves to be her and her agency’s greatest success.
www.natasapavlovicbujas.com
www.blumengroup.rs
25
The company started outgrowing
from a family company into
a professional organization
According to Sanja Veljković, one of the many challenges
that entrepreneurs often face is to choose which direction to take. One such time was when she made the decision to enter into an agreement with the Small Enterprise Assistance Funds for equity investment. “Although
eventually it turned to be an excellent and timely move,
I felt as if I was selling the ‘child’”, as she describes the
IT company founded by her and her husband. “We attached ourselves emotionally to the company, but the
company started outgrowing from a family company
into a professional organization.”
The entrepreneur had actually started her career in a
totally different direction….her first job after graduating
with a degree in political science was at the counter of a
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video club! But very soon the club owners promoted her
to the management of all operations related to copying,
renting, public relations etc. And then she changed directions and set up a company with her husband. Today,
their company, Logo, is a leading reseller, supplier and
provider of information technology equipment in the
local and regional markets.
Sanja Veljković believes her greatest success to be the
confidence that clients and employees have in Logo.
“We carefully nurture our relations with clients based
on mutual trust. And we pay special attention to women employed in our company.” So the entrepreneur
who started a family business has even financed artificial insemination for employees who have had trouble
conceiving. That’s a real family business!
www.logo.rs
Ready to quickly adjust to new market
conditions… and be one small step
ahead of others
The challenge and the thrill of an unsaturated market!
With her sharp entrepreneurial spirit, Snežana Matić
left her job at the main hospital in Kragujevac and registered the company Ella in 1995. Over the past 15 years,
the shop selling women’s shoes grew into a company
that independently imports fashion footwear for its
own needs and owns three retail sale shops in the most
prestigious locations in Kragujevac.
“What makes us different from the competitors is our
long experience in this trading branch. We are always
ready to quickly adjust to new market conditions and to
be at least one small step ahead of others!” points out
the entrepreneur whose long-term relationships with
customers and employees make her particularly proud.
“And I realize that I can transfer my knowledge gained
after all these years to be implemented in any area of
business”, concludes the Snežana Matić.
[email protected]
27
Given that I have been an entrepreneur
from the very beginning of my working
life, I do not know how it is not to be an
entrepreneur.
“When our son and daughter started school I joined my
husband in the business activities of our Art-Agency,
which later grew into the company Art-Ival”, Tatjana
Vučićević, production manager and co-owner begins
her entrepreneurial story. “We founded the Art Agency
for the organization of artistic activities, following our
individual artistic careers as folklore dancers in 1989. By
1992 we had expanded into a company that also deals
with production and trade.”
After substantial preparations and selection of top professionals in confectionery, Art-Ival started producing
dragées of the now well-known brand name “Premier”
in 1996. From the very beginning of production they
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decided for quality, continuous improvement of production and products because “this is the only way to
survive and extend our activities on the market”, according to the entrepreneur. And that is why production
was moved to a new plant in August 2006, designed
and regulated according to all European standards for
hygiene, quality and production control.
Serbia’s Royal Family has even recognized Art-Ival’s
award winning products by granting the company the
title of “Purveyor to the Royal Household”. And whenTatjana Vučićević looks back at the beginnings of her
company, she is thankful to her own family, and particularly to “Uncle Sreta”. “For sure the path to success
would have taken much longer if Uncle Sreta had not
recognized us as serious young people who wish to
learn from the best professionals.”
www.artival.co.rs
We spend the greatest part of our lives
working; therefore the point is to spend
it creatively enjoying what we do
Respecting principles that consider the organism to
be a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual being,
programmes implemented in “Beauty Imagini” center
enable clients, through traditional techniques, to get
a better insight of problems that have reflected on the
physical body, on which classical medicine mainly fails
to give an answer.
Beauty Imagini’s owner, Tatjana Jevđević, had
worked in the health field since she was 18, but
in administrative health services. However, when
she realized that she could not respect the constraints of working in a socially-owned company,
she very soon started developing her own concept.
The Center provides therapeutic services (massage,
face and body cosmetology), applied in a holistic manner. The entrepreneur and her staff function as a family. “When we develop programs to be practiced in the
Center, education with local and foreign lecturers is essential, and we invite employees from the Center and
their colleagues from other centers”, she explains.
Tatjana Jevđević provides perhaps the best example
of incorporating a holistic approach after experiencing a series of unpleasant situations, including an injury which prevented her from working for two and
a half months. “I overcame all of these situations
thanks to understanding why they occurred, and
due to having trust in myself and my way of living.”
www.beautyimagini.com
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In order to survive on the market
we extended our business area to
delivering trainings and education
empowered for managing my own company, I attended
the CEFE training for development of entrepreneurial
skills five years ago. Then I established my own agency”,
she explains. And in the meantime, her younger sister,
Aleksandra Anđelković, joined her as a partner.
“All the time while working in somebody else’s company
I kept having the uncontrollable urge to do business that
I like, that I believe to have talent for, and to finally be
independent and autonomous”, begins Tijana Sekulić as
she starts her story about entering the entrepreneurial
world. At the time, “I was employed as an architect in
a private construction company, supervising, designing
and marketing….but in my free time I was engaged in
making websites”.
Today, she is the owner of AT HAUS-Art and Technology Agency, under the motto “From Logo to Website”,
creating the companies’ visual identity. “In order to be
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The entrepreneur contends that it is necessary to introduce beauty into business operations and to assist
companies in presenting themselves in the proper manner. “Our success is the recommendation of satisfied
clients who recognized our creative and attractive visual
solutions that will enhance their business.” And Tijana
Sekulić’s advice to young people with entrepreneurial
ideas: “Besides knowledge, skills and love for the job,
meeting people and networking are also essential for
success…and a most efficient tool is online social networks.”
www.athaus.rs
The most difficult moment for me
was when I lost the €100,000
deposit in a single day
What happened to Vera Šćepanović on October 27,
2003 proves that being an entrepreneur is a daily struggle. “The most difficult moment for me was that day
when, at the unsuccessful auction for the purchase of
the City Bakehouse in Vrbas, I lost the €100,000 deposit
in a single day. However, I overcame that problem by
taking part in the next auction, when we bought that
company. Through continuous work, engagement, innovations and constant growth in the sale of products
we compensated the loss over time”, she recalls.
She is the director of Trivit Group which produces and
distributes foodstuff, in a cycle “from field to table”.
The company owns arable land, silos, cold storages and
warehouses, production plants and distribution vehi-
cles. The company distinguishes itself from others by
being able to control its products, from preparation of
land and planting to positioning products on the shelves
of end users. On the Serbian market it is a leader in production of strudels with poppy, walnuts and sour cherries, as well as “bag” spices.
“No one encouraged me for private entrepreneurship;
the initiative was mine”, admits Vera Šćepanović, who
worked as a physician until 1992, when she and her husband decided to establish a private company. Learning
lessons from her experiences, she advises future entrepreneurs to “continuously learn, read as much as possible, constantly seek new information, bravely create
innovations, and find new ways of development and to
be persistent and consistent.”
www.bag.rs
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It is necessary to have an idea,
boldness and good recommendations
to reach good clients
Vesna Jovanović considers an example of professional
success to be a project that has a human dimension as
well. “The greatest challenge was enabling the client
to have access to his office, computer and applications
from any place where there is access to internet. This
particular project contributed largely to my client’s good
health because now he is working from his weekend
house, kilometres away from his office”, happily explains
the founder and director of Asist Centar.
The entrepreneur established her company for IT
consulting in 2008 and specializes in consultant services in the field of information and communication
technologies, as well as in the planning, designing,
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implementation, maintenance and adjustment of
systems in small and medium-sized companies.
“Asist Centar was founded with the idea to enable
companies that do not have IT professionals to use
the services of professionals from different ICT fields…
solutions made to measure”, she explains. The electrical engineering graduate got the idea about the need
for such services after sixteen years working in IT for
Serbian Railways and as a Project Manager in charge
of major beneficiaries for a private systems-integrator
company.
Of course, starting up her own business was the major challenge in her career. “Imagine transferring from
a company that had numerous and major beneficiaries
and good relations with all vendors worldwide, to an independent business with an idea but no beneficiaries”,
Vesna Jovanović admits, “but the support from my family and parents was my encouragement.”
www.asistcentar.rs
I became involved in the adventure
and I have not regretted it
Until 1990, the confectionery technician Zorica Selaković
worked in the Catering and Tourist Enterprise Čačak. “I
entered entrepreneurship because I felt that things could
be done in a better way, in a more modern way. I rebelled
against the production standards at that time and felt that I
could offer better and more quality products to the market
and to the ever more demanding customers. Encouraged
by the desire for newer and better, and supported by my
daughters, I became involved in the adventure and I have
not regretted it”, says this entrepreneurial woman about
her beginnings.
Her independent craft shop, “Dessert”, has been operating
on the local market for 20 years now. “Dessert” is a workshop for the production of cakes, pastries, ice cream, and
other confectioneries, using the highest standards and top
quality materials. “What distinguishes us from others is the
team of professionals, i.e. 50 women responsible for the
highest standard of our production. ‘Dessert’ has become a
recognized name for everything that has quality, standard,
taste, visual effect and soul”, says the owner proudly.
The difficult period that she passed through proves that
not everything is wine and roses in entrepreneurship. “The
most difficult moment was when we changed our business
premises in 2007. In order to go on with the production
process and to keep employees I had to take a loan.” However, troubles are behind and for Zorica Selaković the most
important thing is that she managed to maintain the product quality and keep employees even under such difficult
circumstances. It is a great pleasure for her when her workshop serves as an example to young people and stimulates
them to continue. Her message is, “Trust yourselves and
others, assist each other, exchange experiences, continuously learn and nurture your acquaintances.”
www.dessertcacak.co.rs
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The Frankfurt-based association promotes the
professional independence and economic potential of women: jumpp enables women to secure
their long-term livelihoods through their entrepreneurial activities.
Pioneers in Germany
jumpp has been preparing women to set
up their own companies since 1984.
A platform for start-ups and expansion:
awakening potential and providing
perspectives.
jumpp accompanies them in all stages of company development: in preparing for the establishment, in the start- and building-up phases or
even in takeovers. This is done through individual
coaching, trainings, seminars, workshops, as well
as networking events and project support.
Over the years, jumpp’s experience and
expertise has earned it national and Europe-wide
recognition.
www.jumpp.de
9,500 companies set up since 1984
Over 1,200 women in the database
95% of the women are satisfied with their self-employment
72.5% of the companies are still operating
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35
I draw positive ideas from other cultures
Photo: © Youness Chouadli
for problems. “I always find positive ideas to take from
other cultures, and that is why international business
relationships are always so enriching.”
Stress reduction is Anke Chouadli-Franck’s specialty and
“Acquiring new strength and finding inner peace” is her
motto. She advises, coaches and trains individuals as
well as companies using a holistic approach of body and
mind, and achieving goals through energy and balance.
The stress expert focuses on physically oriented, sustainable and culturally sensitive “deceleration“.
„Feelings are taken into account and awareness of one’s
body is learned. It is also important to keep other cultures in mind”, explains the owner of balancea’s special
concept. Varying living styles point to different solutions
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At this stage she is focusing on developing business
partnerships in Germany. “I would like to set up a health
center with other professionals. Some of us met in a
workshop organized under jumpp’s project on Business
Partnerships and Cooperation”, explains Anke ChouadliFranck. In addition, she uses virtual networks: “With
specific search functions on internet portals, I can
quickly find appropriate people for successful cooperation. I had already made a contact before a workshop,
for example, before I had even met the potential business partner in person.”
[email protected]
Preserving history – restoring originals
Photo: © Barbara Naumburg
A corner in jumpp’s (formerly Frauenbetriebe’s) metal
workshop: this is how she started 15 years ago. For master carpenter Barbara Naumburg, occupation, training
and growth belong together. Today her workshop takes
up most of the ground floor and after the first five years
going at it alone, she now employs two carpenters, an
apprentice and an intern, all of whom are women she
has trained.
The acceptance of women in this male dominated field is
larger than it was during Barbara Naumburg’s school days.
Despite the bad memories of that time period, she
could not tame her passion which she likes to share
with others. It is important for her to give opportunities to young people who can grow along with the quality of their craftsmanship. “I am involved in restoration
training at a school for master technicians, as well as
through seminars of the German Foundation for Monument Protection. I enjoy passing on my knowledge”, according to the conservator, who achieved her dream
of opening a workshop for furniture restoration after
completing her apprenticeship and further professional
training in carpentry and art history.
www.naumburg-restaurierungen.de
37
Birnur Öztürkck
Board of the Petek Business Network
for Women Migrants
I devote a lot of time and energy
to networking
Photo: © Petek
Leading such a group is very important for this entrepreneur of Turkish origin: she devotes a great amount
of time and energy to networking in addition to her responsibilities as the owner of VZO Trade & Business.
“Clear labeling of goods is essential for retail distribution and my company is specialized in this.”
“We would like to strengthen the economic power of
women entrepreneurs who have migrated to Germany,
as well as to make their stories more visible. By building
up their economic potential and entrepreneurial activities, major players in business, politics and research can
become more aware of their increasing significance women migrants are an active business factor”, board
member Birnur Öztürk (47) summarizes the objectives
of the Association Petek.
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The fact that her cultural roots were different has not
been a factor in business; she was never considered as
a migrant, “except for my name”, she grins. This is also
what she strives for with Petek – that cultural prejudices
and stereotypes of women migrants should be identified and eliminated.
www.petekweb.de
www.v-z-o.de
Dr. Brigitte Wiemann-Djafari
Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist
In private practice I have more time
for my patients
Brigitte Wiemann-Djafari had accomplished a great deal
in her career before she opened her private practice.
She had been involved in the establishment of a clinic
for addictive disorders where she worked as a medical
director. However, rather than advancing through the
institutional hierarchy, she decided at the age of 50 to
open her own private practice.
“The administrative burden became bigger and bigger,
while at the same time having direct contact with the
patients was very important for me. And career advancement for female doctors has become limited in
institutions nowadays. I could not have evolved had I
not become self-employed and gone into private practice”, explains the doctor of her decision. Supervision,
in-service trainings on the topic of addictions and AIDS
consultations in neighborhoods near the train station
formed the basis of her work in the early phases of the
private practice.
Photo: © Kerstin Wagner
The social aspects of her work are very important to
Brigitte Wiemann-Djafari. “I started out small and my
practice has grown slowly. Money was not my motivation – as long as I can, consultations for addicts will take
place.” In the meantime Dr. Wiemann-Djafari runs a
successful private practice and actively works with underprivileged addicts.
Also with regards to cross-border opportunities, people
are always at the center. “My personal interest in internationalization is the technical and personal exchange,
as I am curious about other peoples, cultures and approaches. I find such relationships exciting. Professionally, I am interested in and enriched by the concepts and
expert discussions from other countries.”
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Photo: private
How many people dream of the chance to be your
own boss and have family and work under one roof?
“We had been thinking about this for a long time and
took over a small fruit and vegetable shop on Berger
Street in Frankfurt. When the previous owner retired in
2008, we decided to continue the business”, according
to Carolin Munte and Stefanie Gröne, owners of “Main
Vegetables”.
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Today they offer a balanced assortment of produce and
specialize in offering organic products from local growers. “Our customers want to find all their fruits and vegetables in one place. But we also value regionally produced controlled organic products which, due to their
short delivery time, makes sense.” One thing is important for both entrepreneurs: the customers should feel
the love of details as soon they enter the shop. Their
concept of “good, green and healthy” exemplifies their
current expansion: in May 2010 Carolin Munte and
Stefanie Gröne opened a small and healthy snack shop
“Suppengrün” (Soup Green). “Among others, we offer
three different soups that we make with fresh ingredients from our produce shop right next door.”
www.main-gemuese.de
Claire Labigne
Labigne interpreting
Keen on services
Photo: © Ulrich Agurks
“When my husband lost his job, it was clear to me that
I needed to take matters into my own hands”, explains
Claire Labigne, entrepreneur and politician. Not only
did she return to her previous line of work for which she
had trained as a conference interpreter, but she also set
up her own company in 1990, labigne interpreting. “At
that time there were many free-lancers in the field, but
no organized teams – that was my chance”, describes
the mother of three of her company’s initial phase.
With various languages and specialists on hand, she was
soon contracting business from notable firms. Her company quickly built up internationally and virtually with
partners in Berlin, Paris and London. “Thanks to this
network and pool of experts we can offer our clients a
team of conference interpreters in every language and
send them for international meetings Europe-wide.
Five years after founding her firm, Claire Labigne followed her third passion in addition to her family and
profession. She became politically active and quickly
successful in the Green party: in 1997 she was elected
to the local council, in 2005 and 2008 she was a candidate for national elections. Education, environment and
social justice are important issues for her. She continues
to run her company, while combining her political convictions. “I still enjoy my work as an interpreter, but I
can choose my assignments. The firm’s contractors as
well: women represent over 90% of labigne’s interpreters and this is our positive discrimination!”
www.labigne.de
www.gruene-labigne.de
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I have benefitted from networking
during my whole career
Photo: © Uta Mosler
Claudia Arnold, very active in relationship building, has
long been able to profit from networking. One cannot
advance without connections to information and contacts – this is the experience of the owner of Arnold
Office, providing services in sales, marketing and software. “We often stand there with a problem and search
for an appropriate person. It feels good when we can
bring two parties together. You have to be ready to give
something even when you do not get something in return, and sooner or later something positive comes out
of it!” She has been a member in numerous women’s
associations and initiated an additional regular gathering within jumpp’s Frankfurt “UFO (Women Entrepreneurs) RheinMain” .
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She owes her good start as a business owner to her
professional contacts at that time. However that is not
enough: “An entrepreneur must always be on the move,
regardless if it is through networking or keeping up with
regulations. If I had simply stayed at a desk pushing papers, I would no longer be in business today.” During the
year new opportunities arise - sometimes too many!
- and today Claudia Arnold cooperates with many different colleagues who have also gone into business for
themselves. A valuable relief!
www.arnoldoffice.de
Claudia Zamponi
parasol-words
Online communication is
indispensable for me
Photo: private
Claudia Zamponi has been self-employed as an Italian translator since 2005. Due to her previous experience, she has developed her niche in IT and computer
science. “Independent contractors in this field should
really do thorough market research because like all
entrepreneurs they need to offer something special,
and as a foreigner even more so!”, according to the
Italian-born translator. She found her start-up phase in
Germany rather difficult. It was a big undertaking trying
to get information about start-ups and some banks even
refused self-employed customers. “With respect to tax
and administrative issues it was much easier in Ireland”,
as she knows from her professional experience.
Today she has clients from Italy, Germany, USA, Great
Britain and Spain. “It is essential for me to build on
and maintain international contacts. I am networked
with many former colleagues from the field, and because of my IT specialization it is also important for
me to know how the industry is developing. For
the most part I use the internet for this exchange of
information with my peers.” In addition, business is
also enhanced through her profile on virtual platforms. “My work is done almost exclusively via email
and the internet. Client contacts and contracts are
developed mostly over portals and electronically.
Online communication is indispensable for me!”
[email protected]
43
My team makes the daily work of
an SME owner much easier
Photo: © Doris Schüβler Consulting
Doris Schüßler develops innovative tools and programs
for SMEs. “We take existing administrative accounting
systems and adapt them for individual use. A custom
made system is created which is relatively affordable
and makes the daily work of an SME owner much easier.
However you need not only optimized instruments but
also concepts”, explains the owner of Schüßler Consulting of her business idea. In March 2006, she received an
award from the national support program “SME promotion - Work like the best”.
She also received an award in 2004 for a system for
document management through electronic archives.
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“Worldwide flexibility is in: clients can access their accounting systems with a password through our homepage”. Online access is not only valuable for international
clients, but it is also useful for her when she is commuting to London, Chicago, Austria and Switzerland.
Doris Schüßler can look back at her successful years of
growth since 1999. Her team today is comprised of 6
people, including an intern who is about to finish her
studies. “This expansion is based on the assistance
which I regularly received in all phases from jumpp. In
addition, I have recently entered into a partnership with
other women entrepreneurs from the association’s network.”
www.dschuessler.de
Being a free-lancer in Germany is
usual in the field of adult education
Photo: © Courtesy Ajna-Studio
A brother in Frankfurt, a desire for more international
experiences after a year as a teacher’s aide in France,
and the wish to improve her German knowledge all led
Eileen McDonald to Frankfurt – a city “where it is almost normal not to be German! Initially I just wanted to
stay a year…Then I settled in! I started free-lancing as an
English trainer in 1990, which in the field of adult education is fairly typical in Germany”, explains the Frankfurter from Scotland.
As an “old-timer” in the field, she recommends to language instructors who are considering working as freelancers to familiarize themselves with pension obligations and tax issues. “At first it is hard to defray our costs
of living”, admits the trainer from personal experience.
Today she has set up her own company. “It is easier for
me compared to my German colleagues because the
clients prefer a native speaker, although there are indeed native German-speakers who are very good English trainers”, she adds.
Eileen McDonald’s professional experiences in Germany
have been very good. The Germans have “a positive and
somewhat funny view” as far as the kilt-wearers from
Scotland are concerned. Still she enjoys her work, despite the fact that her adopted country’s fellow citizens
are more formal than the Scots. “We are much less formal in British business culture and are more likely to
change our fields of business. Here it is much less flexible; people tend to limit themselves only to what they
are already familiar with.”
www.ettp.de
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Constructive arguing and stepping in
for each other are essential ingredients
Photo: © O.PEN
O.PEN Office and Personnel Service represents the
20 year successful partnership of Helga Lauw (l.) und
Ulrike Friedrich (r.). “We have totally different characters and personalities. But throughout all these years,
fundamental honesty and deep respect have been essential – like in a marriage”, according to both business
women. Additional key words related to successful and
long lasting cooperation are the typical “catch phrases”
such as sharing and exchanging information, which can
be very lively. “We fight, too! Business partners have to
be ready to accept constructive criticism”, explaining
their success in their joint business.
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Before they became self-employed in 1990, they had always been searching for interim solutions for their former employer’s administrative office. “It really seemed
to be a big market at that time”, explain Helga Lauw
and Ulrike Friedrich. Today the team provide office staffing solutions and have a significant number of qualified candidates at their disposal. Through our affiliated
“Office service” branch we also provide services to international clients, from marketing contacts to building
management and personnel staffing, before setting up
their operations in this country.” Virtual networks can
be a great help in this regard. “They let you get a quick
overview of totally different branches.”
www.o-pen.de
I thank my love of nature
for my creative new start
Photo: © Kerstin Wagner
Jeanet Bruining had to change careers for health reasons. “A friend asked me what I would most like to do,
and I answered ‘Go up to the mountains with a nice
bottle of wine in my backpack!’ This was the inspiration to organize wine hiking tours, starting in Germany’s
Pfalz region for Dutch clients”, explains Jeanet Bruining.
German-Dutch relations in 1991 were not the best, but
“I found a gap in the market which I could finally merge
with my passion! Through my conversations with wine
growers and local tourist offices, I found out that there
were no organized activities related to wine and wine
growing in the Pfalz region. The initial reactions to my
ideas were very positive. Those networks were invaluable.”
The wine tasting tour confirmed the uniqueness of
the offers – a daily highlight and only excellent wineries, and enthusiastic participants and wine growers.
Jeanet Bruining prepared for her entry into the German
market with a nine-month training course for start-ups
organized by jumpp. “It was great and I learned a great
deal about being self-employed. Organizing makes me
happy and being out in the open is good for me.” Her
satisfied clients can attest to the fact that she is in her
element – some have participated 17 times! Over the
years, she has also learned to systematically build on
her business contacts. “I value networking that is clear
and structured, as well as when it offers a platform for
discussion. When I have a burning question, I throw it
out into the open. Unexpected solutions and contacts
come up, which also then enable mutual support and
cooperation.”
www.weinwanderungen.org
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My cheeky brand character
can be politically incorrect!
Photo: © private
”Seeking Mr. Responsible” or “I am my own disaster
film.” This does not come directly from designer Jennifer Moritz’s mouth, but from “schraeger fuerst”. This
is the character she has created - a black (but not so
plush) cat with twisted and cheeky sayings that sometimes go “too high, too fast, too far.” These show up in
magnets, buttons, post cards or T-shirts.
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With her accessories and unique textile prints she has
been merging her two passions and skills since December 2009. “I started out doing embroidery, trained as a
jewelry and textile maker, but also as a media designer.”
She also free-lances as a graphic designer. “The market
has grown and there are so many opportunities because
of the internet! I can check reactions to my products
through my online shops, and I am using the advantages
of a large portal in order to make myself known before
I open my open store”, according to Jennifer Moritz. In
the meantime, her products will be available soon in
selected stores in Frankfurt.
www.schraegerfuerst.de
Making the family’s daily life easier
Photo: © Manfred Raab
Katja Schommartz-Koerdt is a world citizen: her three
children were born in Switzerland, Brazil and Germany.
“A woman has to be organized for that!” This experience, as well as observations and market analyses contributed to this self-employed marketing consultant’s
business idea – a prototype of the first Online Organizer
for Families is being tested. The objective is to help organize the daily lives of families with children by tying
together things like appointments, child care and health
care with innovative internet technologies.
“It functions like a ‘virtual refrigerator door’. All the information comes together in one place…who is where
and when, who has something to do, how can who be
reached… Everyone – parents, children, child care providers – have access!”, explains the 43 year old. “The
tools that we are developing are universally applicable
and therefore internationalization is an objective of our
business model.”
Katja Schommartz-Koerdt enjoys using virtual networking to reach interesting people. With a view towards
long term growth, she and her business partners are
seeking investors for the launch of the Online-Organizer
– which her children think is “super cool.”
www.allaboutfamily.de
www.allaboutbrands.de
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My ‘eyegirl’ figures have developed
into a brand
Photo: © Kerstin Wagner
Girls and animals with big eyes grip the onlookers. Distinctive: they are Kerstin Lichtblau’s figures. “A continuous theme in my art is eyes and their look. The figures
are what we face, they are always looking at us, and
each person sees something of themselves in them.
Over time, they have turned into a unique, recognizable
world – my ‘brand’…”, explains the Frankfurt artist.
While charcoal and silver colors breathed life into her
work in the past, today experimentation with colors
is at the heart of the next exhibitions. And more and
more red: girls and animals in the new series with hats
and caps. “Fashion entering my work lies in the concept
50
that I am developing. Fashion and art influence each
other simultaneously…T-shirts, bags and skirts marked
in small editions with my ‘Eyegirls’ will be more than
just designer clothing. Fashion should take my art out
onto the street.”
The reaction to the first T-shirts has been positive and
she has opened an internet shop. The artist has also
attracted international attention and exhibited in New
York. “International contacts are very important for an
artist in order to gain recognition over the borders.”
Online communication has functioned very well until
now. She has been building and maintaining a meaningful network of local and international business partners,
galleries and artists. Who knows, perhaps tomorrow
also in Serbia?
www.kerstin-lichtblau.de
www.augenmaedchen.de
Highly qualified specialist and mother
– I want to do both of these well
Photo: © Kerstin Wagner
“Animal clinics do not offer practical working hours for
mothers. Night shifts and emergency services are difficult”, explains Dr. Maike Höch the reasons for the flexible working hours in her practice. Four veterinarians
work part-time in the bright, modern equipped offices.
The veterinarians all have one thing in common: they
are mothers and specialists in their field of veterinary
medicine. “I started out alone, but I missed the exchange
I had had with colleagues at the clinic”, as the doctor
describes the advantages of her flexible hours model.
“Besides, we can offer much more as a team!” These are
the advantages of partnerships and networking”.
In order for everything to run smoothly, every detail
of the patient is noted so that everyone has the same
information. “A great deal of our time is spent on exchanging information”, says the director of the practice.
She also always has time to accommodate the schedules of the team. “We decide together who can work
when and how.” Only one shift, between 8pm and 9am,
remains unattended. “Night shifts are behind us!” They
are nevertheless very customer oriented. They relate
to the Frankfurt’s cosmopolitan nature and have translated their website into English and French. Clients from
faraway lands who are traveling through Frankfurt and
need a veterinarian can come to the right place!
www.dr-hoech.de
51
I have technology in my genes!
Photo: private
“I could do it day and night!”, says Maria Puskic, who
at the age of 57 is far from thinking about retirement.
“I became self-employed in 2007 after 30 years of experience in this field which I love!”, beams the draftsman and planner. Many people wonder how she chose
this field which is still rather uncommon for women. But
engineering had always been an obvious choice since
she was a child, subsequently being taken up by the
whole family. Even her great grandfather had built
ships on the Main river and among relatives one can
find many mechanical engineers.
52
When it was time to decide on a career, there were no
openings for training in her first choice of teaching…
”Drawing plans have always fascinated me. When you
think how everything is included in the drawing board,
it’s incredible!”, says the trained technical drawer for
heating and plumbing.
Many years of employment followed. She became
unemployed in 2005 because she was “too expensive
due to her seniority”… She did not let that get her down
and decided to go into business for herself. Her network
and previous contacts were essential at the beginning.
She visited professional associations in Frankfurt, international fairs for heating and plumbing and she revisited former customers and business partners while
contacting new ones. The results: today she has more
than enough to do! The 57-year old is still far from
thinking about retirement….
[email protected]
I look for jobs where I can develop
freely and diversely
Photo: © Kerstin Wagner
Civil engineer Miriam Klemke first came into contact
with an area that would later become her hobby 18
years ago. She was an application engineer who instantly had to become familiar with the topic of “rooftop gardens”…and she liked it. Later, after a yearlong
maternity leave, she worked as a project manager for
SAP quality management in various public utilities. “The
working environment at my last employer was bad, and
I didn’t have any real tasks. I gave in my notice because
I wasn’t in the mood for petty activities anymore, rather
I wanted to pursue responsibilities which I enjoyed”, describes the career changer.
“As we started working on a garden that had long been
neglected, I started becoming more and more interested. I did a lot of research and finished a distance learning course on landscape gardening.” Her career today
is in detailed planning and individual consultations for
private gardens. “Whether it is after a training or a consultation in their own gardens, the clients are happy.
They often need a confirmation or expert opinion to
find the right path to their green oases.”
As Miriam Klemke grows her business, she knows that
cooperation with a regional landscaper or planning office is always helpful. “You need the experience and
network in the field, as well as someone who is familiar
with the everyday activities. Ideally the contacts should
be mutually beneficial. I believe that good work spreads
a good word, and online media can also shorten the
path. Although social media currently plays only a small
role in my branch, that will surely change.”
www.taunus-gartenplan.de
53
I stumbled onto advising
start-ups simply by chance
Photo: © Andreas Kauderer
The reasons for business expansion are so wide-ranging and complex, like trees in the forest! Monika Weitz
knows this. “When you look at the tree more closely,
you can see its time profile or chronology, which you can
also find in companies. A healthy tree remains standing only when it can accommodate to changing conditions. Is it in the right place? Does it have enough place
to grow? Business owners or managers need a system
in place in order to precisely evaluate themselves and
their companies at large. I assist them with the Business
Tree® model I have developed”, according to Monika
Weitz, who simply by chance stumbled onto the field of
advising start-ups.
54
“I was looking for career alternatives when a friend
of a friend asked if I could help her with drafting her
business plan. As part of that job, I attended a training
course for start-ups (offered by Frauenbetriebe, now
jumpp). I enjoyed the course and then registered my
own company in 2002!”, says the business consultant.
Only after a training as a personal coach five years later
did Monika Weitz go into full gear. Her Business Tree®
brand, which she had had in her mind for a long time,
started to take shape. “I was meeting more and more
business women who were reaching out to me.” Today
she is very thankful for the help from these contacts
and likes to share her experiences as a business woman
with others.
www.unternehmensbaum.de
Taking into account culturally
sensitive, individual care
Photo: © Wygoda
“Foreign born home care patients often hoped that they
would be returning to their homeland. However, most
of them remain in Germany and home care in their native language is very important”, explains Nadia Qani,
owner of AHP. “We have to give them the feeling that
they are at home as part of this society. In my opinion
the only way a country can complete globally is when
the interests revolve around its people and when people from various cultures find their place in society; this
is business through added value and high regard.”
A person is an indivisible whole. Taking care of them
means culturally sensitive care. The AHP team respects
individual wishes and needs. “Respect for faith and hope
in a peaceful world are the reasons for our actions. It
is important that the people are cared for in the environment and language with which they are familiar”,
according to the entrepreneur, who has 53 employees
representing 23 countries and 37 languages.
All of them speak German and have completed their
training and received the appropriate qualifications.
“We offer positions for future advancement and carefully select our employees. And our international staff
should promote the German qualities of punctuality,
accuracy and correct behavior”, stresses Nada Qani. For
this is also integration, and the award winning GermanAfghani is always wondering how she can help integrate
people from other countries into German society.
www.ahp-qani.de
55
Sonia Diaz
Sonia Diaz Photography
I haven’t been able to keep myself
away from the lens since I was fifteen!
Photo: © Sonia Diaz Photography
It was clear to Sonia Diaz that, realistically speaking, it
would be difficult to fulfill her dream without any help.
She is a single mother of two young boys, ages 6 and
12. Thanks to her motivation, the native Spaniard has
become a commercial photographer, despite deciding
at first to take the long road due to her family responsibilities. She became self-employed as a commercial
photographer in Frankfurt in 2007.
Photography has been her passion since childhood
when she was secretly snapping pictures with her father’s camera. And she has not been able to keep
herself away from the lens since she was fifteen.
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Over the years, she became a self-taught photographer
through “learning by doing.” However, the path to her
dream job has been rocky. “Without the classic training
it is difficult to receive state financial support for startups. Each day is a challenge and nobody believed that
I could be financially independent with two children”,
remembers Sonia.
She received support from the jumpp network when
she founded her company. Her search for an interesting
internship position led her to the Europe-wide established photographer Michael Zargarinejad in Frankfurt.
“He has brought me forward and he really shows his
passion for photography which he shares further.” The
self-taught photographer benefitted from this year long
internship, which she was then able to turn into a formal training.
www.soniadiaz.de
To be able to make my own way –
that’s what a career means for me
Photo: © Kerstin Wagner
No wide ranging course of studies can prepare anyone for a career as a publisher. A list of career training options will also not include “Publisher”. What then
brought Sonja Laubach-Hintermeier to her small publishing house? “I simply set up shop and set a goal to
publish the first book in the first year”, summarizes the
businesswoman. She had started her first business, a
research service providing background information to
companies and businesspeople, when she was in her
early 30s and had one child.
The entrepreneur developed her first contacts with authors and publishers and more and more ideas evolved.
“Discovering and pursuing topics, building up a network
and observing an area of business in upheaval…I could
do that”, according to the entrepreneur. When her
father became ill, she took over his canteen business
for two years. It was a hard time, but “It’s fun to be a
boss!”.
Sonja Laubach-Hintermeier, the mother of two girls,
made a decision at the end of 2008. “I had learned my
strengths and weakness and said to myself: publishing
books…I’ll do that now.” Said and done. The first book,
an evolutionary psychology book of advice will be on
the market soon.
www.scoventa.de
57
I already had many clients from the
industry, while being at university
Photo: © Farideh Diehl
Although Susanne Dessaive does not stand in the limelight, she ensures that her clients’ editorial content
makes it to television. “There are very few companies
in Germany that offer TV public relations. With our
worldwide partner networks, we can position our clients in the appropriate media, from financial news on
Bloomberg-TV, to ZDF (major German channel), CNBC
or video reporting on the Web”, explains Susanne
Dessaive. “For international TV PR you need international partnerships. We work for global clients and
are part of a network of experts that can produce,
monitor media behaviour or promote news across
the globe.”
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Through her Agency medianetcom, she advises companies in two main areas: Firstly, on how to best utilize TV
PR. This involves defining objectives and target groups,
news relevance, strategy development, coordinating
relevant partners, in addition to production and project management. Secondly she helps companies create
and promote value-add corporate image films (a recent
project was the making of Frankfurt Exhibition Centre’s
new Hall 11).
Her team records financial press conferences, selects
the highlights, and delivers the compiled material via
satellite: This may be enhanced by, for example, interviews with members of the board or other stakeholders, and is then distributed to relevant news agencies
and TV news editors. Journalists from all over the world
can view the material online and decide if this TV footage is relevant for their own reports.
Susanne Dessaive started her publicity company in 1997
after graduating in media studies and media law. During
this time, she has supported numerous national and
international broadcasters. TV is her passion!
www.medianetcom.de
Fun for everyone – for my clients and me
Photo: © Kerstin Wagner
Sylvia Ebert has organized more than 900 events in the
last seven years. That also means that over 900 corpses
lie in her path because Sylvia Ebert offers crime games
for company parties, bachelor parties or private events
in people’s living rooms. The audience members are simultaneously investigators who can prove their detective skills.
Besides organizing the games and dealing with all the
activities which are involved in running her business,
Sylvia Ebert writes the scripts for the plays. “Crime
novels were my biggest passion”, explains the author
and entrepreneur who was a manager for a telephone
provider before she went on the crime story path. And
who casts the actors? Who directs? “I do everything. I
also search for appropriate locations and acquire the
permits“, says the entrepreneur with a background in
wholesale and foreign trade.
“In the meantime we perform all over Germany in every imaginable location. A second ensemble has been
formed in Leipzig in addition to Frankfurt.” In the process, online communication is extremely important.
“A business like mine would be unimaginable without
the internet!”, as the majority of inquiries come via her
website. The exchange of information with the actors is
also mostly electronic, which makes the scheduling of
their full calendar much easier. The all-around woman is
not afraid of running out of ideas for her script. Murder
is her hobby, and she has chosen it as a career.
www.citygames.info
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Konolino should raise awareness for
respecting other cultures and also one’s own
Photo: private
A nomad asks them to sit on the pillows in Konolino, the
small nomad tent. She hands them a nomadic yoghurt
drink while they listen to shepherds’ flutes in the background. Then she begins telling the story of “Kono”, the
tent that the women weave out of goats’ wool. What
do nomads need to roam around? What kind of traditional tools do they use? Zinnet Peken, the owner of
“Kononlino – Nomad tent for kids”, knows the tales and
myths that the nomads tell every night, and she performs them for her guests with music and singing. Then
they fill up with pita bread and cheeses made out of
goat, cow and sheep milk to continue.
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“I introduce my personal experiences as a half-settled nomadic child and offer workshops for children
or adults to learn about nomadic culture in a fun and
active way. They should get a taste of “human values”
such as festive rituals, customs and dance. What I offer
should also raise awareness for a mutual interest and
respect for other cultures and also for one’s own”, says
Zinnet Peken.
She also offers training and discussions for adults.
Her clients include museums, schools, pre-school and
other institutions involved in cultural education. Also
included in her client list are company and individuals
who want to present something special to children, for
example travels to different cultures!
www.konolino.de

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