Trained for Success: Empowering Future Women Entrepreneurs across Europe Achievements of the ifempower project

“This is a time of opportunity, especially for women, because it has been proven that when the number of women in employment increases, the economy grows. To meet this challenge, it is essential that all agents in the entrepreneurial ecosystem join forces, connect, collaborate, cooperate and build a community to make this world a better place.”  – (Counsellor and mentor from Andalucía Emprende Foundation, Spain)

Our international project: “ifempower – Interactive and mentorship based FEMale emPOWERment in the field of entrepreneurship” has come to its end and is eager to share its results with the broader public – including economic and professional agents, stakeholders supporting women entrepreneurship, women considering launching their enterprises, and the media.

During its three years of implementation, ifempower aimed to empower young female students to become potential entrepreneurs by providing the necessary knowledge and skills (both soft and hard) to start their successful businesses. To reach this goal, the project developed innovative tools, educational & training methods and a mentoring system with the collaboration of 9 partners – mostly universities and consultancies.

Based on our preparatory research investigating the role of women in European SMEs (Study on Women Entrepreneurs in Europe), as well as gaps, obstacles and market needs, the project elaborated an International Curriculum for Higher Education in 5 languages for university students on entrepreneurship-related topics to support their engagement in self-employment. The accredited modules were launched and piloted at partner universities in Hungary, Iceland, Austria, Romania and Spain, and backed by our International Teaching Material for the participating teachers. More than 100 students have enrolled in the courses developed by ifempower to immerse in the world of female entrepreneurship.

In addition, the project applied an innovative and participatory approach by providing a Mentorship Scheme for interested students, connecting them to entrepreneurs. For those interested women who prefer to have a self-paced education, Ifempower also organised personal consultancy and developed a free Online Educational Toolkit in 7 languages, including mentors motivational videos. All mentioned outputs are available as Open Education Resources (OER).

Finally, the project results including policy recommendations expected to reach policymakers to fulfil the objective of making concrete progress in civil society regarding female entrepreneurship are collected in the Final ifempower Study.

“The atmosphere was magical. All the other women there, being aware that they have similar aims and objectives in life as I do, gave me energy. Listening to other females talking about their goals are so inspirational in terms of hearing the belief and wilfulness as they speak.” – (University student on the Intensive Course)