Leading the first Cooperative Bank founded and financed by women
Artemis Toumazi, President of the Cyprus National Federation of Business and Professional Women undertook a huge responsibility in 2001. Under her guidance, a group of 350 women, decided to empower women so as to start-up their own business. As a result, they founded the Cyprus Women’s Cooperative Bank (Women’s Co-Op Bank).
Since its establishment, the Women’s Co-Op Bank financed more than 470 enterprises owned by women. It remains the first and only cooperative bank founded, financed, and operated by women. True to its original idea, 68% of financial support is provided for women.
Women do have brains for finance
Becoming the CEO, Artemis Toumazi broke the gender stereotype according to which women are neither good leaders, nor finance-brains. She remains convinced that the patriarchal society does not value women’s contributions as much as those of men: “Unless men are accepting the new role of women being economically independent, being politicians, society won’t progress”.
The advice she gives to all women thinking about running their own business: “If you have a good idea, go ahead with it. Fight for it! Do the best you can; work the hardest you can and in the end you will receive the fruits of your efforts!”
Women’s Co-Op Bank + EU Funds = “Women in the Business World” Project
Artemis Toumazi is working hard to increase the levels of female-owned businesses in Cyprus (28%). She strongly believes that women’s small businesses could prove the crucial factor in changing the country's economic problems. At the same time, women’s entrepreneurial initiatives will shape Cyprus’s economy towards sustainable development.
To this regard, the Women’s Co-Op Bank ran an EU-funded project, called Women in the Business World - Enhancement of Female Entrepreneurship. Within the program, women are selected, trained to start-up their business and develop skills to succeed.
Being herself a successful entrepreneur, she is a member of the European Network of Female Entrepreneurship Ambassadors, campaigning on the ground to inspire women of all ages to set up their own businesses.