"Nothing is impossible if you work hard."
“Even in my wildest dreams I would never have pictured myself standing in front of my own business one day and seeing my name in lights over the doorstep,” Fatima Selimović confides, nodding towards the large illuminated sign whilst giving instructions to the workman on the ladder. “A little more to the left, please. That’s it!”
“Let alone a second shop!” she adds. The first one Fatima opened just over 15 years ago in Tuzla. Hers is not the story of a childhood dream come true, however. Rather, it is one of perseverance in overcoming the odds. “Back then, the economy was not doing well at all and people were let go left and right. And one day, it was my husband’s turn to find himself without a job,” Fatima reminisces with a cloudless smile. “We had two choices: either wait for something to happen or make it happen.”
Fortunately, Fatima’s spectacles fell down and broke that day and she not only had to travel across town, but also wait a week to have them repaired. “When I told my husband, he was surprised to see I was smiling. What the neighbourhood is missing is an optician, you, I said,” she marvels. “It wasn’t always easy, but we had the right financial partner. Together with the loan officer at Mi-Bospo, we not only looked at loans but also how we could better manage our small business.” So far, there have been 17 loan cycles and the latest, to cover renovations and new equipment, is about to be completed. “And today my daughter is taking over our second shop,” Fatima beams.