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Bosnian sock producer Gloria Line rises on EBRD support
12
Jan '16
Under its Women in Business Programme, designed to provide women with the finance and know-how to grow their business, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is boosting female entrepreneurship in Western Balkans, it said in an article on its website.

Among the beneficiaries is Jasna Jovic, whose company Gloria Line is the largest sock producer in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Gloria Line is the largest sock producer in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but we have to compete with many well-known international brands,” she said.

“For a long time, we had no brand recognition for our products and this was holding us back, especially when we wanted to start our export business. That's when we realised that we needed professional advice to grow further.”

Only 14 per cent of Bosnian firms have a female top manager and that is a real hindrance to further economic growth.

But help finally came for Jovic from the EBRD. With the support of donor funding from Luxembourg, the EBRD matched her business with a local consultant, who advised her how to rethink her marketing – with great success.

The advice has prepared her to expand. Her business now has a logo, a website and the products a new, fresher packing.

“You can now find our Gloria Line socks and tights in many major department stores and supermarkets across the country,” she says.

“Most importantly, we have been able to boost our export business. We now sell our brand in Slovenia and Germany. We have increased our sales by more than 2 per cent in the first 9 months of 2015.”

This is the first step towards helping Gloria Line and other women-led businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina grow.

Small businesses are the backbone of a dynamic economy. To help them succeed, the EBRD's Small Business Initiative provides entrepreneurs with a comprehensive package to ensure sustainable growth in the long run.

This includes not only advisory services, but also access to finance through direct loans or through the EBRD's partner banks, as well as policy dialogue to improve the business environment.

As part of this effort, the Women in Business programme in the Western Balkans provides improved access to finance for women-led SMEs through credit lines with partner banks, technical assistance and credit enhancement, and direct support through business advisory services, mentoring, networking and other activities.

The potential for these businesses to grow is huge. With donor funding from Italy, Luxembourg and Sweden, the programme will support more than 1,000 women-led SMEs over the next three years in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia.

It is this unique combination of support that will provide a much needed boost, not only to Gloria Line, but the Bosnian economy as a whole, the Bank said. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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