On December 20th and 21st, Blagoevgrad held a final conference of the project “Cross-border Business center to support Roma business “. The event was organized by the LIDER Association. , Blagoevgrad – the leading organization of the project and with the participation of the project partners from Kochani, Macedonia – Association of Roma AVENA. The purpose of the conference was to present the results of the activities, the experience of the project participants and to outline ideas and opportunities for the development of business among the Roma. The event was attended by representatives of Blagoevgrad governor office, Agency for Social Assistance , Municipalities of Petrich and Belitsa, Employment Agency – Kochani, Waterworks-Kochani, NGOs from Blagoevgrad and Kochani, Roma and Non- Roma entrepreneurs from the two border regions.
The conference was opened by Miglena Mihaylova, project manager , who presented the results of the project. “The project is a huge success for the both partner organizations. This project was a real challenge for us. We are working for the first time under the program Interreg-IPA “Bulgaria – the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” cross-border programme. I and the project team are proud of the success we have achieved and the final results of its implementation – the developed business plans for the start-up of eight Roma people from Bulgaria and Macedonia and the established cooperation network between the Roma from Blagoevgrad and Kochani area. ”
A detailed presentation of the results of the project was made by the joint team, which presented the implementation of each of the activities on the individual – The Roma Business Support Center in Blagoevgrad and Kochani, the Business Planning and Marketing training modules, the mentoring process, the thematic visits and exchanges visits, meetings with local entrepreneurs and business organizations.
Two of the participants in the program – Ivayla Asenova (Bulgaria) and Sibeljan Latifova (Macedonia) – presented their business plans for the first time publicly. On the second day of the final conference, the main focus of the project was the panel, where participants discussed opportunities for Center to support Roma business in Blagoevgrad and Kochani to continue, opportunities for new joint initiatives and projects of partner organizations. The participants in the conference discussed the current issues concerning the development problems in the Roma community in the context of the economic development of the two countries. On the conference was distributed and presented the brochure “Good practices and funding opportunities for start-up businesses in the Roma community” with the results of the project on three languages - Bulgarian, Macedonian and English.