A project of Steinbeis Transfer Center EAST-WEST Joint Ventures with relevance for Romania and all Danube Region.

Project Title: “Interactive and mentorship based female empowerment in the field of entrepreneurship”

The project wishes to empower females to get engaged in self-employment and entrepreneurship especially in SMEs. Based on a preparatory research on the role of females in European SMEs, investigating the main roles, hindrances, gaps and market needs, the project will elaborate a module for university students which can support that they broaden their knowledge on entrepreneurship related topics and they get hands-on training to support their engagement in self-employment and entrepreneurship. This module will be jointly developed by the partners and launched at partners universities for 2-4 semesters. The project gather partners from two pillars of the knowledge triangle, namely businesses and universities and will make important efforts to engage the government sector and to channel in the results of the project. The project represents and innovative and participatory approach by providing mentorship programme for participating students by connecting them to female entrepreneurs. Apart from developing a curricula, the project will launch personal consultancy for interested students to provide further support for their engagement.

Background: Hourly wage of women is still 16.7 % lower than that of their men counterparts. Women only accounted for 31% of entrepreneurs in the EU28 in 2012, and only 34.4% of the self-employed are women in the EU. Women are less frequently are in leader position, however, they have strong role in the management of SMEs as bookkeepers, administrators, etc. Quantitative research on female entrepreneurship is sparse but recent studies show that men are more likely than women to prefer entrepreneurial careers. Nevertheless, women have huge entrepreneurial potential, and female entrepreneurship is about economic growth, job creation and the empowerment of women according to various EU directives and strategies. But it is important to highlight that women entrepreneurs can only reconcile family life and work if external circumstances permit, that is to say if suitable childcare is available and fathers play an active role in providing care and running the household. Choices made by women during their education and horizontal and vertical gender segregation in employment mean that fewer women than men would be able to set up a business in the science and technology field or turn an invention into a profitable item. Female entrepreneurs more often tend to concentrate on sectors that are considered less profitable, such as education, healthcare and community work.