Danijela’s firm has more than enough clients, fortunately, and doesn't even have to advertise its services. Although she admits that she feels overstretched sometimes. “Sport taught me discipline and instilled in me this fighting spirit,” she says with a grin. “I simply won’t give up!”
Danijela succeeded though sheer determination and hard work. She managed to overcome many of the bottlenecks that prevent women from starting their own businesses and becoming entrepreneurs in Croatia.
Social norms were certainly part of the challenge for Danijela, but like other Croatian women, she faced additional constraints including an absence of affordable business development services, lack of financial and social capital, and an absence of institutions and networks that give women a collective voice in the marketplace and in the community. Women are also reluctant to enter, or reenter, the labor market because of unaffordable or inaccessible childcare services.
A forthcoming World Bank report, Investing in Opportunities for All: Croatia Country Gender Assessment, recommends a whole-of-government approach to addressing these gender barriers, which would entail national and municipal governments providing a supportive environment for women’s entrepreneurship. With greater opportunities and gender equality, more women in Croatia will be able to follow in Danijela’s footsteps.