Mirna Perendija is a mother of three from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She worked for a long time in a range of jobs from banking to sales trade. Thirteen years ago, she became a mother for the first time, and her first-born not only brought her joy and happiness, but also paved the way for an innovative business endeavour. Thirteen years later, she is the owner of a small size company that is thriving, with EU support. Apart from covering the local market she is also planning to introduce her product to the EU market.
Mirna remembers that at the time when she became a parent there were no ergonomic baby carriers available in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She got one for her child with the help of friends who lived abroad. For her second child she decided to sew a baby carrier of her own and that is when she started thinking that baby carriers could be a good business idea. It would solve a problem for many other parents, who, like Mirna, had to import or purchase them from abroad with the help of friends and relatives.
From part-time to full-time business
At first, Mirna was producing baby carriers for friends, relatives and colleagues on her own as a part-time job at home. However, as time passed the requests continued to grow, and in 2015 she made the decision to turn this part-time job into a bigger business enterprise. “I decided that from then on I would not work for other people, but instead I would work to develop my own business,” she says.
She continuously improved her products by modifying, adapting and refining the design and functionality of her baby carriers. As demand increased, she hired additional part-time associates who helped her with production. However, at a certain point she needed to make a bigger leap. She was lacking business management information and the skills to further expand her business and also needed machines. That is when she heard about the EU-funded EU4Business project. “I saw the opportunity published on Facebook, and I thought, ‘this is just what I need’ and decided to apply,” says Mirna.
With the support of the EU4Business project, Mirna received training on business management skills and €5000 of financial support with which she purchased an upgraded machine. With this investment, she managed to increase the quality and quantity of production and now has the necessary international product certifications for export to EU member states.
Now she is planning to further expand her business and further increase the number of workers and associates. “I believe firmly in women’s entrepreneurship and think that women entrepreneurs can make miracles happen with a little support. That is why I am hoping to employ at least three more single mums in our company, as I was a single mum once,” says Mirna.
About the project
EU4Business aims to stimulate the development of entrepreneurship, export-oriented sectors, tourism and agriculture in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The overall budget of EU4Business is €16 million which is jointly funded by the European Union (€15 million) and the German government (€1.1 million). The project is jointly implemented by GIZ (the German Corporation for International Cooperation), the International Labour Organisation and the United Nations Development Programme and will end by March 2022.
Photo credits:DracoMom Carriers
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