The First International Conference “Women in Business” brought together experts from around the world
Fibank (First Investment Bank) was the organizer of the First International Conference "Women in Business" which took place on 15 March 2018 at the San Stefano Plaza Gallery. The conference was honored by ladies from Bulgaria and abroad who have proved successful in different business areas. The event revealed some key challenges faced by women today in an increasingly globalized and highly competitive business environment. Highlights were placed on education opportunities, health and financing.
The conference was opened by Ms. Maya Georgieva, Deputy Chair of the Supervisory Board of First Investment Bank. She emphasized the leading role of women in successful business development and reminded that more than 10 years ago Fibank and Diners Club were the first to offer the First Lady credit card, exclusively tailored for women.
Mr. Vladimir Danailov, Executive Director of the Municipal Investment Agency, welcomed the participants on behalf of the mayor of Sofia, Ms. Fandakova.
At the beginning of the conference, Ms. Ana Maria Mihăescu, member of the boards of several large companies in Romania, presented the challenges faced by banks and financial institutions, as well as their role in supporting women in business against the backdrop of increasing globalization and digital technologies. Ms. Mihăescu stressed the importance of training female entrepreneurs and of creating specialized financial products for them by presenting successful examples from Romania and Poland.
The special role of a moderator for some of the most interesting panel discussions was entrusted to Mr. Jyrki Koskelo, an independent member of the Supervisory Board of Fibank. Prior to coming to Bulgaria, Mr. Koskelo has had an extensive career at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank.
The journalist from the Bulgarian National Television Mr. Spas Kyosev was moderator of the rest of the conference.
Ms. Marchella Abrasheva, Regional Director of Kantar TNS, Ms. Nina Miteva, Rotary Bulgaria and Ms. Yulia Stark, FAB Academy, reviewed the business opportunities and changes that have already occurred, or were likely to occur when women became more involved in business throughout Europe and in Bulgaria. The ladies united around the view that Bulgaria was a digitally developed market, providing for an even more tangible contribution of female managers.
Ms. Vanya Manova, MasterCard Bulgaria and Macedonia and Ms. Sevdalina Vassileva, Member of the MB and Executive Director, Fibank, shared their opinions what financial institutions and banks could offer to encourage women's business endeavors. Just days ago, Fibank launched its special Smart Lady program, aimed at supporting women who have decided to develop their ideas into successful businesses. Ms. Vassileva told the conference audience: „The Smart Lady program is a range of products specially designed and tailored for women. It involves the creation of a broad non-financial platform to provide business ladies with the opportunity, through seminars and meetings, to build up their skills and find like-minded persons to draw inspiration and courage from.“ She added that for achievement of these goals Fibank relied on its partnership with FiHealth Insurance and Mastercard, who have already helped in the development of the Smart Lady program. A detailed description of the program can be found on the Fibank website.
Among the participants in the International Conference “Women in Business” was also Ms. Marialuisa Ortini, Head-Executive Education Custom Program at SDA Bocconi School of Management. She introduced the guests to some training programs developed specifically for women in one of the most prestigious business schools in the world.
Personal business success stories were also presented by the ladies: Eng. Boryana Manolova, CEO, Siemens Bulgaria, Ms. Irina Nedkova, creator of the Love Made Love children fashion brand, and Ms. Irina Hristova, founder of the Integral Language School.
The International Conference “Women in Business” was only part of a series of activities planned by Fibank in support of businesswomen. The Smart Lady program also envisages building a platform for self-learning and information on topical issues. It will help business ladies who are clients of First Investment Bank to exchange experience and get professional advice.