AT-ARTEX doo and Udruzene Association of women were selected to be part of Sida’s C2C fund in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to implement the project Economic Empowerment of Women Through Social Business. After 10 months of starting the project, AT ARTEX employed 3 new people, renovated the Space Arts & Crafts Center (a space for training and improvement in handknitting, crochet, embroidery and handicrafts), and started working on launching the brand and online sales platform. Also, as part of the project, the associates took part in the Stockholm Fashion Week where they “achieved encouraging business contacts”.
95% of AT-ARTEX sales comes from wholesale of handknitted fashion garments for international designers. They are constantly contacted by international and domestic designers and by individuals who want to purchase the handknitted products that AT-ARTEX designs. Currently, they employ around 300 knitters as external subcontractors.
Nadira Skaljic Mingasson, who is the president of Udruzene Association of Women – a partner in project consortium – shared with us how participating in C2C challenge fund “has given us an opportunity to hire new, valuable and hard-working employees, employment opportunity for women from our community and more quality and easier access to our work for new users”. In general, she explained that “through providing additional training, increasing the number of new attractive products, improving production, and subcontracting to women, they are contributing to women entrepreneurship development and economic and psycho-social empowerment in Bosnia and Herzegovina”.
Challenge. Unemployed women are constrained by unequal and inadequate access to resources, services and infrastructure. Women with high economic dependence and lack of income sources are more often in violent and abusive relationships and therefore vulnerable and marginalized. However, many of these women have “traditional education” and have exceptional hand-knitting skills. AT-Artex and Udruzene joint initiative is helping them to improve their knitting skills and providing the opportunity to access to new jobs and businesses opportunities which is a significant and permanent source of income for them and their families. Impact. Under this project, 3 persons are admitted to permanent employment, 150 women knitters were trained and “60 new women were included in the production work, which increased the number of our members by 30%. We expect that by the end of the project implementation, the percentage will increase to 50%. We also expect that our company will increase exports by 30% and revenue by 20% in relation to last year. The increase in revenue is, of course, accompanied by an increase in the number of employees of permanent and occasional associates. After the launch of the brand and the development of our online sales platform, we expect to increase our profit margin by 20%”.
“The Challenge to Change (C2C) project was a trigger for entering our company into a new phase of development, and personally to me as someone who is at its forefront, it has given the necessary encouragement and confidence for a more ambitious development of the project.”
– Nadira Skaljic Mingasson, President of Udruzene