Getting women to the top in business in the EU’s Eastern Partner region was the focus of the ETF’s second international women’s entrepreneurship laboratory in Ukraine last week.
Policymakers, women entrepreneurs and business associations from the EU’s Eastern Partner region, with EU experts, put their heads together in Kyiv to see how policy environments can be improved so that women play a more effective role in the drive for growth and jobs.
Story-telling was an important feature at the laboratory held on 21-23 March, where women from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine underlined the many barriers to women’s businesses. Cultural mores, policy gaps and weak institutional support for areas such as training were key factors identified in undermining the potential of women’s entrepreneurship.
The laboratory also allowed for an interim review of progress on recommendations on women’s entrepreneurship following the 2016 assessment of each country’s performance on Small Business Act for Europe (SBA). More effort in connecting the range of policies supporting women’s entrepreneurship (economic, education, social) is required in the run-up to the next SBA assessment that kicks off in 2017. Local partners in Kyiv have established a dedicated webpage and intelligence platform to support the assessment. The platform interfaces with a wider on-line area to support women’s entrepreneurship in the European Union.
This laboratory built on the first, highly successful women’s entrepreneurship laboratory held in Rome in 2014 and brought new energy to the women’s entrepreneurship drive in the EU Eastern Partnership region. ‘We’re keen to ensure that our policy events are engaging and that there is clear learning value for participants,’ says ETF’s Olena Bekh who facilitated the laboratory.
Through SBA assessments, the ETF supports partner countries to promote women’s entrepreneurship, improve access to training, finance, and develop policy support tools. The Women’s Entrepreneurship Laboratory is one example of how the ETF supports partner countries to improve the policy environment so that women entrepreneurs can thrive.
Funded by the EU’s Eastern Partnership Platform II, the laboratory was hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ukraine. The laboratory was supported by the European Commission and organised in close collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ukraine, European Business Association and EUROCHAMBRES