This call, which aims to promote women’s entrepreneurship in Europe (COS-2018-5-01), is part of the Programme for the Competitiveness of SMEs of the COSME 2019 Programme.
Women entrepreneurs in Europe
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a crucial role in achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy. While they are seen as crucial engines for growth and job creation, their competitiveness is affected by limited exploitation of international opportunities and innovation prospects in the single market and beyond. In this context, the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (2014-2020) (COSME) aims to promote growth and strengthen the competitiveness and sustainability of enterprises in the European Union (EU).
Achieving gender parity is a key element of the Sustainable Development Goals launched in 2015. The Goals recognise the need for many more measures to ensure that women around the world can realise their potential. Investing in women is a key way to ensure that their ambitions are realised. The European Commission’s strategic commitment to gender equality 2016-2019 is the framework for the European Commission’s future work towards full gender equality.
The strategic commitment focuses on five priority areas, one of which is to increase women’s participation in the labour market and the economic independence of women and men. It is therefore necessary to develop policies and good practices to develop an effective ecosystem that supports women’s entrepreneurship. Policy makers will support women entrepreneurs by promoting positive attitudes and female role models, offering training and mentoring courses, facilitating access to finance and ensuring that their policies help women to participate in the labour market. Policy makers must explore the gender gap in entrepreneurship, the differences between male- and female-owned businesses, and the unique challenges women entrepreneurs face when it comes to starting a business.
In order to support women who want to start or expand their business, the European Commission created in 2016 a Europe-wide online platform called WEgate. Since September 2016, this platform serves as a centre for connecting women entrepreneurs with local, national and European support organisations, thus facilitating their access to networks of mentors and businesses across Europe.
The general objective of this call for proposals is to promote women’s entrepreneurship in Europe through:
- To facilitate networking and the exchange of good practice between actors such as intermediary stakeholders in order to improve the effective support given to women entrepreneurs and to motivate more women to set up their own businesses or to support the development of their businesses throughout Europe. For the purposes of this call for proposals, ‘interested parties’ means associations, public bodies and private, sectoral or general organisations which actively promote women’s entrepreneurship at European, national, regional and local levels in the European Union.
- Entrust the management, updating and promotion of the WEgate electronic platform to the stakeholders themselves.
The specific objectives of this call for proposals are as follows
- Develop a ‘European Community of Practice for Women’s Entrepreneurship’ (‘the Community’), which will complement and develop past, current and planned initiatives in this field (i.e. inter alia those mentioned in section 1.2. of this call for proposals).
- Involve a greater number of stakeholders actively supporting women entrepreneurs, rather than women entrepreneurs themselves, with an emphasis on face-to-face exchanges and networking as a complement to on-line connections.
05th of September, 2019