33 participants discussed women entrepreneurship support measures at EMPOWA BARCAMP

How can the situation of women entrepreneurs in Horizon2020 be improved? This was the guiding question for the EMPOWA Barcamp on September 18 in Brussels. 33 participants from 12 countries attended the event. Women entrepreneurs, organisations supporting women entrepreneurship, EU officials and other stakeholders gathered at the representation of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia to exchange opinions, experiences and suggestions in order to improve the innovation capacity of women entrepreneurs.

Four introductory presentations informed about the topic of the BARCAMP and paved the way for the subsequent discussion sessions. The presentations focused on:

  • the role of women in the SME instrument (Luisa Prista, EASME)

  • barriers in women entrepreneurship (Claudia Große-Leege, VdU, Association of German Women entrepreneurs’)

women entrepreneurs in Poland and experiences in Horizon 2020 (Katarzyna Walczyk-Matuszyk, Polish National Contact Point for Research Programmes of the EU)

  • and the role of women entrepreneurs in the digital economy (Cheryl Miller Van Dyck, Digital Leadership Institute, DLI)

The three subsequent workshops focused on specific support measures for women entrepreneurs and the challenges women entrepreneurs face, the participation of women entrepreneurs in Horizon2020 and the role of start-ups and the importance of women early stage investors and female business angels. One crucial outcome of the first session was that many women entrepreneurs need to be trained in relevant business and marketing skills and that role models, mentoring programmes and exchange of good practice with regard to European programmes can help. The Horizon 2020 workshop emphasized among other things the importance of gender aspects in the evaluation procedure and how to address female-led Start-Ups at European level. In particular, the BarCamp highlighted that female participation in H2020 is low and that the role of women entrepreneurs is not considered as much as it should. Furthermore no particular consideration is given to gender aspects. The sectors in which women and men operate are different and this should be considered along with the different challenges that they face running their business and approaching an SME Instrument proposal. As a final outcome of the workshop it was concluded that the aim shouldn’t be to eliminate all the differences, but trying to address challenges women face in entrepreneurship.

Documentation of the BarCamp:

Session 1

Networking between women organisations | Skills | SME business development and online platforms | What kind of support do women entrepreneurs need?

Session 2 

Women early stage investors | female business angels | awareness raising for funding opportunities

Session 3 

Start-ups and women entrepreneurs | participation of women entrepreneurs in Horizon 2020