Thanks to the invitation of our partner, RAPIV Bulgaria, HETFA had the chance to present the project ifempower at the EU Week of Cities and Regions on 7 October 2020. The workshop was held under the title Unlocking Female Entrepreneurship gathering excellent speakers from different projects and initiatives related to the topic.

The workshop was moderated by Sanja Popovic Pantic from Mihajlo Pupin Institute, Serbia who wrote her PhD on female entrepreneurship and in the recent years she was nominated as the Chair of the EEN Sector Group Women’s Entrepreneurship. Virág Zsár, Head of Division for International Cooperation of HETFA introduced briefly the background research which paved the way for the development of the project ifempower and then highlighted the main fields of activities in which the project aims to bring impact to unlock female entrepreneurship. Her presentation was followed by Gabriela Kostovska Bogoeska who is WEgate Community Coordinator and Executive Director. Her comparative presentation underlined the same challenges and solutions synergetic to those of ifempower.

Afterwards, policy recommendations to improve the chances of female entrepreneurs and also potential female entrepreneurs elaborated by the project Women in Business was detailed by Sandra Weiß-Wallner for the Innovation Region Styria. Lastly Amélie Leclercq Board member of the European Women’s Lobby and BPW presented their activities to impact decision-makers and other relevant stakeholders.

The introduction of these activities, interventions and real-life examples was followed by a short but informative discussion. Then, reflecting on the effects of the current pandemic situation, the main findings of the international research initiated by HETFA was briefly introduced. In reply to the question raised by Ms Pantic, the moderator, on what we need to empower female entrepreneurs in COVID-19, the following areas of possible interventions were highlighted: 1) more flexible supporting instrumnets which take into consideration the specificities of women led entreprises; 2) alleviating the double burden making the situation of female entrepreneurs difficult in case of having kids or elderly, and 3) promoting use of online opportunities in all sectors where it is possible.

The recording of the session is available here.

You can read more on our study on the effects of COVID-19 on female entrepreneurs here.