Prezes Fundacji Citi Handlowy im. L. Kronenberga
Citi Foundation has just donated over PLN 2 million to Polish social organizations to support entrepreneurship, including female entrepreneurship. Since the beginning of 2019, the bank’s volunteers together with Citi Handlowy Foundation have completed several dozen projects addressed to women and Polish female organizations in implementing their statutory purposes.
Supporting women in pursuing their professional goals is a part of the DNA of our organizational culture – hence we conduct a number of internal actions at our company. With supporting social projects we have an opportunity to make such an approach more widespread. We have already contributed to the establishment of 169 companies founded by women. This is a great success, all the more meaningful when you consider that 80 percent of those companies have stood the test of time and have remained on the market. This is a real contribution to our country’s economic growth, claims Sławomir S. Sikora, Citi Country Officer in Poland.
According to Citi’s report, declining inequality between sexes can increase the GDP in developing economies by approximately 6 percent within the next 20 years. However, in order to make this vision a reality, chances of women and men on the labor market and also in terms of childcare should be equal. It requires not only permanent systemic changes but also, above all, a revision of mindsets and cultural stereotypes. NGOs which support programs encouraging women to establish a company and motivating them to further their careers, contribute to the changes.
Citi Foundation contributes to the social and economic development in more than 80 countries all over the world. Only in the last 5 years, Citi Foundation donated more than USD 390 million to the development of local communities worldwide, thus improving the quality of life of over 5 million people. Citi Foundation has been involved in Polish social projects since 2005 and so far has invested over USD 13.2 million in their implementation.
I am glad that for yet another year in a row we will be supporting the development of female entrepreneurship in Poland. I will be observing the effects of our work in the area of STEM with great interest. I have a feeling that the potential of talented female students and research scientists in STEM in Poland still remains unfulfilled in business. I hope that we will manage to motivate these experts to commercialize their projects, says Sławomir S. Sikora.
This year, funds from Citi Foundation will support projects such as: Business in Women’s Hands organized by Sieć Przedsiębiorczych Kobiet (Entrepreneurial Women Network) or Shesnnovation Academy operated by the ”Perspektywy” Educational Foundation. The first of them is an innovative initiative, a comprehensive acceleration program addressed to women with their own business ideas (implemented together with the Foundation for Female Entrepreneurship). Over 8 months, future businesswomen acquire knowledge in different areas to lay the foundations for conducting their own businesses. Along with the wide range of workshops, program participants also receive individual support from female mentors who have already achieved business success. Four editions of the program resulted in the establishment of 169 companies in total. 80% of them are still successfully operating on the market
The support that Citi Foundation provides to women who want to establish their own businesses is an investment in the future of the Polish economy, says Katarzyna Wierzbowska, the President of the Foundation for Female Entrepreneurship. The results of the program are measurable: the established companies are developing on an international scale, creating new jobs. The majority of businesses (up to 80 percent) are successfully operating on the market. For us, what is particularly important is the evolution in thinking experienced by women participating in our program. During the workshops and classes with mentors it often turns out that many obstacles on their way to establishing their own companies lie in their heads. Our program gives them a chance to develop and accomplish their business goals. I am happy that the help from Citi Foundation combines financial support with a huge content-related involvement of the volunteers, who share their knowledge and experience.
Shesnnovation Academy offers a program addressed to young women, female students and graduates of technical faculties and female scientists. The first edition of the project prepared with the “Perspektywy” Educational Foundation will involve 40 female innovators from all over Poland who will be offered individual mentoring, a package of workshops, trainings and consultations with experts and, thus, will be supported in the process of commercializing scientific and technological solutions. The project will be supplemented with a research report that analyzes conditions for developing technological careers by women in Poland. The professional partner of these two projects is the Kronenberg Foundation at Citi Handlowy
Citi Handlowy Foundation is also a part of the coalition comprising 9 international companies with a technological component existing on the Polish market, which cooperate in conducting the IT for She program. The “Perspektywy” Educational Foundation is the operator of the project. This venture is an innovative combination of solutions in the field of mentoring, networking, inspiration and also in the development of competences, which support the development of female careers in the area of IT