Globally, women and men are not in the same level of playing field in terms of access to resources, which continues to impact women’s ability to start and grow businesses. Resources do not only refer to the difficulties that normally women face when searching for financial support. For some countries, the initial course of action is obvious: remove the legal restrictions that do not allow women the same opportunities for employment, recognition of their work hours and freedom of movement outside their home and, more importantly, to support these changes when they are not anymore legal restrictions but cultural barriers. For others, increasing women’s access to both SME training programs and financial training programs is the clear next step. In fact, addressing the female entrepreneur education gap is critical because generally women are less prepare than man. Thus, they feel less confident about embracing entrepreneurial activities and this is reflected in the rankings of entrepreneurial activities by gender in a negative way for women. On the other hand, women that are already in the entrepreneurship field state that there is not an actual structural approach that can match emerging trends to create the conditions suitable for high potential female entrepreneurship to flourish.
The project Euro-FEM aims to improve the promotion of women’s entrepreneurship and employment empowerment under the cooperation among EU and Turkish chambers and stakeholders. Particularly, Euro-FEM project would like to increase the representation of European and Turkish female entrepreneurial activities by actively participating in the EU-Turkey dialogue.
Euro-FEM will go beyond national and regional activities since it will create a common strategy in female entrepreneurship that will increase the connection and coordination of local business communities throughout all the business communities in Turkey and EU.
Euro-FEM offers the opportunity for a large variety of business in multiple sectors to be part of the actions while beneficiating from the outcomes. More specifically, female entrepreneurs and their business will receive a special support as many actions will concentrate on improving their position, operation and development through 10 trainings and local/topical seminars. They will be the engine of the implementation of all these strategies. The project is looking to put female entrepreneurs as the key to long-term changes with the support of chambers and stakeholders.
In addition to that, the Euro-FEM Business Angels Forum and the realization of “Euro-FEM” network will include all the three chambers, as well as, the exchanging of best practices and the B2B meetings will be the main elements of project’s implementation that will support the cause of the first priority area. This networking opportunity intends to bring together entrepreneurs, SMEs, business representatives and associations from the Turkish and European region and enhance the development of a comprehensive dialogue between them. This dialogue will help the realisation of the common needs and barriers and will develop a common logical framework, where these needs could be satisfied. The modernisation of Customs Union is one of the many fields that can be benefited from this dialogue and exploited as a useful means for the overall accession procedure. Therefore, along with the main priority areas, these activities will also fulfil other important objectives of the project:
“to increase opportunities of networking and exchange of best practices between chambers from the EU and Turkey” and
“to increase the participation of the business community in EU-Turkey dialogue, in particular in providing input to modernise the Customs Union between the EU and Turkey and move forward the EU accession process”
Furthermore, the third specific objective “to increase the capacity of Turkish Chambers so that they improve/add new services to their members” is of a great importance and will be supported and promoted by the creation of a common strategy in female entrepreneurship, the realisation of the cluster among female entrepreneurs in the identified region of Turkey and Europe (Greece, Turkey, Spain). The strategy will be based on the development of common policies that will be influenced by European chambers and will help the transnational cooperation among SMEs that will share the same mission, goals and strategies. Furthermore, the capacity of Turkish chambers and Turkish business community will be also supported by the analysis and transferring of best practices. This activity will be carried out by experts not only focusing in the strategies already implemented or the literature in best practices, it will also identify the necessities that female entrepreneurs have by implementing surveys. Furthermore, 6 Focus groups will be elaborated with experts and female entrepreneurs to delineate the strategy that will guide the cooperation framework of Turkey and EU with respect to the empowerment of entrepreneurs’ women.
All in all, the sharing of expertise, information and advice will offer Turkish chambers and business community a unique opportunity to meet and integrate the way European chambers operate and to provide effective mechanism to support female entrepreneurship. Furthermore, the development of training courses that will target women entrepreneurs and the activities implemented as the B2B meetings will provide females with the knowledge, advice and guidance on the starting and implementation of their own business. Last but not least, the awareness raising activities will be the special means of promoting a sustainable dialogue in female entrepreneurship in Turkey and EU as it is going to be spread the common philosophy, actions and strategies that the project will be developed as well as a common training curriculum will be publish so more females interested in entrepreneur activities can be beneficiated. This project will impact 550 direct participants and it will support the cooperation and businesses of 120 SMEs run by women. Finally it is expected to impact to 8050 people through the indirect cooperation and dissemination activities. The following part is designated to explain the 5 work package in a deep sense since they describe in detail what will be carry out base on the diagram of Euro-FEM women’s entrepreneurship and employment empowerment.