Empowering ethnic women social entrepreneurs to make a difference to the world. Insights from across Europe as part of the EMwoSE project

Theme 1   The economic inequality.
Theme 2   Entrepreneurship and business economics.

Secondary school seachers.
Researchers and academics.

According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2020, p.16) “women are generally more purpose-driven than men. Women starting a business are more likely to agree with the motivation of making a difference to the world”. At the same time, encouraging women to start a business and engage with entrepreneurship enables them to get better jobs, gain better social status, and have a smoother transition into the labour market (Alexandre-Leclair 2014).

The results of the two-year Erasmus+ project "EMwoSE - Empowering Women from Ethnic Minorities through Social Enterprises" show the importance of empowering this diverse group of women as they contribute to the economic and social development of their region by serving those in need, supporting the local market, integrating vulnerable groups and promoting different cultures through social entrepreneurial activities.

This paper will present the main findings of the 'EMwoSE' project, which involved partners from seven European countries - Ireland, Germany, Turkey, the UK, Greece, Italy and Lithuania. The project identified the challenges linked to the involvement of ethnic minority women in social enterprises and analysed the skills and competences needed in order to succeed in establishing an own enterprise.

The main findings of this project, based on both qualitative and quantitative research methods, will contribute to a better understanding of the skills gaps and needs of women social entrepreneurs, in addition to the challenges they experience from their own perspective and that of the experts involved. Similarities and differences between the seven partner countries involved will be addressed, as well as their needs, challenges and motivations to engage in social entrepreneurship.

Challenges identified in this research include access to the labour market, access to finance to start a business and discrimination. Cultural responsibilities are other barriers that require consideration, including family responsibilities and pressure to quit a career in order to start a family. Communication barriers including language difficulties in their new country were also difficulties faced by the women.

Presented by: Alina Boutiuc-Kaiser (1, 1)

Lecture (20 min)

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