ETF celebrates Women's Day with renewed focus on women's entrepreneurship
On International Women’s Day, Madlen Serban, ETF Director, sends her best wishes to business women and policy advocates in the 30 ETF partner countries and backed up with a clear message. 'Women’s entrepreneurship is not a gender issue. It is first and foremost an economic issue,’ says Ms Serban.
‘With the global economic downturn, the world is finally understanding the value of women to the economic turn-around. It should not be left there,' she argues. 'We need to ensure that women's entrepreneurship stays on the policy radar. And that it gets the follow-up support it deserves,' says Ms Serban. ‘We all need to co-work the women’s entrepreneurship agenda together. This is a partnership agenda through and through and entrepreneurship promotion must be considered alongside women’s access to education and employment.’
The ETF supports the European Commission in promoting EU policy and practice in human capital development. Particular efforts now focus on women’s entrepreneurship with ETF borrowing on the expertise and know-how of the European Network of Female Entrepreneurship Ambassadors (22 countries). The network plays an important advocacy role and similar partner country networks, for example in Croatia and Serbia, have a critical role to play in shaping gender sensitive policies which empower women to take the entrepreneurship route in their careers.
Moving from policy to practice, the European Commission’s support for mentoring of women entrepreneurs is already attracting interest from a range of ETF partner countries. ‘Mentoring is the softer side of business support. It helps women build confidence, skills and determination to get a business started and to keep it going,’ says Joanna Drake, Director at the European Commission’s enterprise department. ‘We are very pleased that ETF intends to share our good practice with its partner countries.’
To date, the lion's share of ETF work on women’s entrepreneurship has concentrated on raising policy awareness in partner countries, including the elaboration of policy indicators which are presently being road-tested in the EU pre-accession and Eastern partnership regions. Upcoming work includes the development of a good practice peer review mechanism where training experts on women’s entrepreneurship will critically review one another’s work making for improved quality in training services and more developed practitioner networks.
For more information on ETF’s work on women’s entrepreneurship, contact Olena Bekh at email@example.com.
Photo: above, Madlen Serban, ETF director; below, Joanna Drake, Director for the Promotion of Competitiveness of SMEs at the European Commission