WE – Woman Entrepreneurship


Giovanni Cervioni
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Part One

TNAM Initiative / project description


WE – Woman Entrepreneurship



Research has shown that women face a number of difficulties in establishing and maintaining businesses. 
The WE project aimed at the inclusion of women entrepreneurs into knowledge society: attending new ICT developments, practices and current entrepreneur needs, as well as personal development and competences for life (as creativity and innovation). 
The final outcome of the project should be a training platform based on web 2.0, combining elements of formal and informal training and creating blended e-learning environments that provided to women entrepreneurs with a set of basic skills and capacities regarding the web 2.0. The Lisbon European Council defined an ambitious strategy for Europe to become ’the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world’, emphasising the need for the creation of an environment conducive to starting up and developing innovative businesses and especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Increasing the rate of new business creation by women is essential to stimulate innovation and employment in our economies. 

Research has shown that women face a number of difficulties in establishing and maintaining businesses (Study “Young entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs, ethnic minorities entrepreneurs and co-entrepreneurs in the EU and Central and Eastern Europe”). 
Women participation in self-employment has modestly increased since 1995 and amounted to 28 % in the EU-25 in 2003(Benchmarking enterprise policy. 2004). As female labour market participation in general has made good progress, approaching the 60 % target, self-employment has continued to be an option for comparatively few women. The pool of female entrepreneurial talent is still underexploited in the EU. 

Keywords / TAGS
Themes Labor market
Lifelong learning
Open and distance learning
Enterprise, SME
Equal opportunities
Continuous training
Vocational guidance

Coordinator contact details


Coordinator Country

Germany, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Poland, Portugal, Spain

Coordinator Region (NUTS code)



women entrepreneurs


  • Enterprise and SMEs
  • Equal Opportunities
  • Labour market
  • Vocational guidance
  • Others

Target Groups

  • Individuals
  • Groups
  • Trainers
  • Head teachers/principals/managers
  • Other




  • Accommodation and Food Service Activities, HORECA
  • Activities of Extraterritorial Org.s and Bodies
  • Activities of Households as Employers; Undifferent
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
  • Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
  • Real Estate Activities
  • Others

Educational sector

  • Other sectors of adult education


additional info if needed


Your Project language (ISO 639-2)
Languages you will look for

Part Two

TNAM results

1. LLP project or related resource

    Female Entrepreneurs: Mentoring and Lifelong Learning across Europe
    FE:MALE aimed to encourage women facing double disadvantage to start up in business through the provision of supportive Mentoring Circles led by experienced facilitators across UK, Cyprus, Malta and the Netherlands. FE:MALE has provided e learning opportunities for potential female entrepreneurs to develop personal competencies in soft skills learning areas that will develop confidence and skills to start up in business. Women entrepreneurs are under-represented across all of the European countries represented in FE:MALE. Research indicates common barriers at the core of this under-representation including lack of confidence,work-life balance concerns and anxiety about risk-taking. Barriers are amplified for women facing ‘double-disadvantage'(DD) i.e. being a woman over 50, BME-Black & Minority Ethnic, Migrants or lone parents. FE:MALE increased confidence of potential women entrepreneurs through face to face Mentoring Circles and elearning opportunities. FE:MALE transferred innovative training methodologies from the UK to 3 member states to enhance European vocational educational training (VET), personal development/mentoring support to equip women with the necessary soft skills to start developing entrepreneurial activities.
    Project objectives: Transfer of proven successful innovative learning methodologies from the UK to partner countries; Developed a European training the trainers package to transfer the Mentoring Circles for Female Entrepreneurs methodology to partner countries;Transferred and adapted paper based materials to e-learning materials to widen access to online development tools for female entrepreneurs on a European scale;built and developed crucial social capital for women entrepreneurs online(social networking-learn zone);and enhanced the provision of vocational guidance across Europe by providing quality personal development tools/training methods aimed at reducing personal self-limiting beliefs of women.
    FE:MALE consisted of a female-owned SME, HE Institute, NGO for women, Federation for Women Entrepreneurs and an ICT SME, combining specialist knowledge and experience in training, personal development/mentoring, e-learning and gender issues. Consortium partners have well established regional, national and European networks for dissemination/exploitation and knowledge-transfer.
    The target group of female adult learners (focusing on those facing double-disadvantage) increased in confidence, self-efficacy and entrepreneurial inclination. Trainers were trained to deliver a wider repertoire of innovative training methodologies; training others in their countries (cascade method) and sharing knowledge across Europe.
    The fe:male project had impact on VET and guidance practices within a European framework aimed at women entrepreneurs, providing innovative training materials and methodologies to foster women’s self-efficacy and motivation for learning about entrepreneurship to enter/re-enter and reduce risk of exclusion from the labour market. These innovative methodologies could transfer to other target groups for essential soft skills, including men, asylum seekers, career changers and young people.

2. LLP project or related resource

    Programme for the Activation of Women’s Skills
    This project aims at contributing to reducing inequalities between men and women with regard to accessing and retaining employment. Equal opportunities between men and women are part of the priorities initiated by the EU. The roadmap for equality between men and women highlights the need to take into account the factors creating barriers or hindering access to employment for women in order to remedy this negative impact. Consequently, as soon as 2005, the CIBC Gard Lozère has set up a scheme with funding from the EU (ESF): “the PAC (Programme for the Activation of Women’s Skills): the several lives of women at once”. The added value of this scheme is the very fact that all the skills and constraints in a woman’s life are taken into account in a global manner in order to help them manage in an efficient, sustainable manner and reconcile the personal (including family life), social and professional levels and to avoid failures and gaps on their professional paths. The labour market is affected by economic changes and influences. This has tremendous influence on the professional paths of European workers. The most vulnerable go in and out of employment in short cycles during their professional lives. Individuals have to manage these professional transitions and face uncertainties all along their careers. In this context, the specific characteristics of women’s paths seem to be an aggravating factor. Family life has consequences on women’s professional lives more often than on men’s. Maternity, education and child care create, in women’s life and in employers’ minds, constraints as well as gaps in professional paths which are sometimes hardly compatible with the current demands of the labour market. The programme of transfer of innovation is about working on a new type of guidance tool, directed at women, putting emphasis on the need to improve the balance between personal and professional life, in order to improve their employability and in this way, reduce inequalities.

3. LLP project or related resource

    Mentoring rural women through social networking
    MW-Sonet "Mentoring rural women through social networking" address female rural inhabitants in training and future life long learning activities. We assist females to gain new skills, new qualifications, knowledge and to encourage them to become mwntors using the e-learning courses. Women get the possibility to train, mentor colleagues, mentoring is done through social networking. “Building Bridges: Empowering women in agriculture to succeed“ (BB) was an best practice project realized in LdV (2005 – 2007).The aim of BB was to involve and stimulate farm women active in agricultural communities to become mentors for other farm women in each participating country.Studies and research in Lithuania and other EU countries show that there is a great interest in information exchange, entrepreneurial ways of thinking, in building capacity and self- esteem, life long learning and e- services.Women in rural areas feel isolated and do not get proper acknowledgement as farmers and the deep rootsed traditions within the profession maintain the male- domination of the sector.Women want to learn from each other, they would like to have professional trainers or mentors.While trying to bridge a gap between cities and rural areas local tele- cottages are emerging in many EU countries.But there are no institutions or courses to motivate and empower rural woman to be active participants in the agricultural community life.Every BB course empowers the women to share knowledge, develop networks, explore further, and develop themselves.The pedagogical model in BB opens doors for the women, gives added value to professional and social life.The main aim of MW-Sonet is to transfer the BB model to project partner countries and to involve and stimulate women to become active participants of local community life, to become mentors for other rural women and all the rural community.A specific aim is to help rural women empower themselves in order to gain more integration into the social infrastructure and be more active in influencing their social and economical environment.We plan to build a social network for international rural women- mentors to share ideas, knowledge and skills, and empower ourselves.We use e- learning courses from the BB project and supplement courses with success stories from various countries.MW- Sonet partners are from 7 countries- Lithuania, Bulgaria, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Turkey.Partners have expertise in rural development, coaching and mentoring, LLL, technologies, project management, valorization and dissemination.Main project outcomes are five e- learning courses transferred, adapted and tested in national and international environments; tools for organizing and managing social networking and guides how to use these tools; initiated and established international and national MW-Sonet communities and a Handbook of good practice, including mentoring skills. MW-Sonet encourages the participants to share ideas in local, national and international communities.Women- mentors will be trained and a network of rural mentors will be established.Outcomes will have a positive impact of rural women for social improvement, self- education and LLL, improving self- esteem awareness of their own special knowledge and of the need to change.Formal and informal learning in MW-Sonet will be accredited following the ECVET scheme.

4. LLP project or related resource

    Entrepreneurial programme for female founders
    The target group of the project are female founders who want to work in networks, cooperation or franchise systems. The main task of this project is to form a curriculum for the target group of female founders. Cooperation between enterprises offers good chances to strengthen the regional economic structures of SMEs. These new kinds of cooperation’s also demand adequate training methods for the managers and founders. The restructuring of old industries in many Associated Countries of Europe as well as the interlace of economies within the expansion of the European Union increase the demand in functioning cooperation models and by that a demand in better qualification measures. From an international point the formation of clusters also is an aspect of the trend to act in cooperation’s.
    The target group of the project are female founders who want to work in networks, cooperation or franchise systems. This group also consists of unemployed women, women after a period of grace, women in enterprises with economical problems, as well as women who are already self-employed and want to change over into enterprises in networks or franchise systems.
    For women in underdeveloped areas such models of enterprises also offer good chances for self –employment.
    The main task of this project is to form a curriculum for the target group of female founders. The curriculum contains a combination of different training methods, classical and tele-teaching, interactive CD-ROMs etc. The founders are also supported by the coaching of selected mentors. In each partner country 1-2 mentors are foreseen for the start up and first enterprise period of the female entrepreneurs.
    During the test phase of the project about 50 female founders should be tested. The mentors are trained as well for their task to support the founders.

Part Three

CB4LLP Action Plan

Useful ideas

The Lisbon European Council defined an ambitious strategy for Europe to become ’the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world’, emphasising the need for the creation of an environment conducive to starting up and developing innovative businesses and especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Increasing the rate of new business creation by women is essential to stimulate innovation and employment in our economies.


Women entrepreneurs


Women entrepreneurs



The project developed methodologies based on web 2.0 technologies. In the last years, the use digital media including CD-ROMs, the Internet and Intranets for accessing technical manuals or for Web searches for learning is not new; but learning takes place only if information is applied in such a way as to develop new mental models and schemas, implicit or tacit which have to be made explicit and shared. CD-ROMs, the Web, etc are useful and convenient ways of storing and retrieving information but if this information is not transformed and context applied, it can be seen neither as learning nor knowledge development.




Skype meeting, mailing list


Public conference, website

Educational Sector

evaluation methods
material for open learning
description of new occupation profiles
teaching material
procedure for the analysis and prognosis of the vocational training requirement

Non educational


Systems for quality monitoring

External evaluator

Systems to document taken actions

Part Four

CB4LLP Impact analysis

Useful ideas















04_useful_ideas (value): 8
04_useful_ideas (text): 8

04_stakeholders (value): 8
04_stakeholders (text): 8

04_partnerships (value): 8
04_partnerships (text): 8

04_other (value): 8
04_other (text): 8

04_solutions (value): 8
04_solutions (text): 8

04_general (value):
04_general (text):

04_particular (value): 9
04_particular (text): 9

04_internal (value): 9
04_internal (text): 9

04_external (value): 9
04_external (text): 9

04_educational (value):
04_educational (text):

04_noneducational (value): 9
04_noneducational (text): 9

04_equipment (value): 9
04_equipment (text): 9

04_systems_monitor (value): 8
04_systems_monitor (text): 8

04_systems_actions (value): 9
04_systems_actions (text): 9

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