I am 36 years old and I am an entrepreneur from Zlatar, (…) or more precisely from Nova Varoš. I was born there and I grew up as the youngest of three daughters in a family of watchmakers and jewellers. (…)
For 12 years I worked as a watchmaker in various famous shops and reputable companies that sold or repaired luxury watches and jewellery in Belgrade. After years of living and working in Belgrade, I decided to return to my hometown.
The main reason for my return was the death of my father, who was the owner of the only watchmaker’s shop in town for nearly half a century. The scenario in which this shop – which provided us with a nice life and a possibility to get an education – would cease to exist was horrifying for me and that motivated me to take things into my own hands and start my own business.
In addition to acquiring professional knowledge, the work I did repairing watches and jewellery enabled me to learn about other things necessary for independent work and successful business. While I was working, I dedicated a lot of my time to professional development and improved my skills. So, I had the knowledge, I had the experience, and I had tools and machines which I inherited from my father; however, this was not enough for me to take the leap into entrepreneurship. What I needed was innovation both in the equipment I was using and the services I was providing.
I knew that there were different programmes providing assistance to entrepreneurs in our country. I asked around and I found an open call for starting an independent business with the support from the European PROGRES, a programme through which the European Union and the Government of Switzerland support the development of women entrepreneurship. Within this programme, we attended various training courses, learned about entrepreneurship, as well as how to implement our ideas down to the smallest detail. A few months after applying, I found out that I was one of 48 women who would receive an EUR 9,800 grant for purchasing new equipment. In the meantime, I received a self-employment subsidy from the National Employment Service and I became an entrepreneur, I revived my family tradition and I modernised the production and service. Through the Project, I received significant media support, which proved beneficial for my business. I had to earn the trust of my customers, which was not easy, but in time this came too, mostly because of the quality of work I was providing, hospitality and patience.
The assistance I received from the European Union gave me the opportunity to gain self-confidence to move on, and it also gave me faith that my ideas were feasible. And, so “Titany Concept” my little shop at the base of the Zlatar Mountain, is still open two years later and I am planning to hire someone so I can improve and expand my business.
Being an entrepreneur is not easy at all, but given that I worked in companies where I had superiors, I can say that entrepreneurship offers more freedom, creativity, and self-fulfilment. I advise you to take advantage of the programmes which provide assistance, to be brave and persistent in the realization of your entrepreneurial dreams and, through your development, contribute to our country’s progress.