The iFEMPOWER project

Between September 13 and 14, the seven partners of the iFEMPOWER Erasmus+ project and their associated partner Femspace held their kick-off meeting at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna.

Written by: Viktoria Tanczer
Lector: Rita Macskási-Temesváry

The complete title of the project is „Interactive and mentorship-based FEMale emPOWERment in the field of entrepreneurship” and this long name reveals a lot about its basis.

It is interactive, because it wants to prepare an educational module for female students based on the interrelations of society, economy and tertiary education.

It is mentorship-based because it aims at providing students with practical experience in the framework of a mentoring program besides theoretical education. Due to the characteristics of mentoring, mentors and mentees will be able to build personal relationships which can result in a more dynamic and tailor-made learning experience for the mentees.

The concept of the project is based on entrepreneurship because its goal is to empower future female entrepreneurs. It is a common phenomenon that people start their own businesses at the age of 30 to 40 or even later. Nevertheless, the target group of the project are female students at the beginning of their 20s who need encouragement and empowerment the most beside up-to-date theoretical knowledge and a pragmatic point of view to launch their own projects.

It is female because the project focuses on those young women who want to start their own business after finishing their studies either because they want to pursue the occupation they have chosen (eg. lawyer, doctor, psychologist) on their own or because they have an idea which can be successfully pursued as an entrepreneur.

Studies have proven that women tend to get insecure regarding their entrepreneurial abilities even if they are fully competent and talented to manage their businesses. For this reason, the goal of the educational module to be prepared by the researchers of seven countries is to empower these young women and to create a course module which can be accredited by higher education institutions across Europe.

The iFEMPOWER project team

The starting point of the 3-year-long cooperation will be a series of interviews conducted with female entrepreneurs in seven countries. 10-15 selected interviewees will be asked about the difficulties of starting their own business, what kind of challenges they had to face back then and what kind of information or knowledge would have been useful to see the first results of their efforts. The subjects asked will represent several faces of enterprises (rural businesses, family enterprises, start-ups etc.) so that a comprehensive overview can be gained about the characteristics of female entrepreneurs and about the missing insights female entrepreneurs would need help with.

Curriculum and teaching material will be prepared according to the answers and missing topics detected during the interviews. The teaching concept and resources will support the development of an entrepreneurial mindset combined with topics like creative thinking, problem solving, risk management, lifestyle or coping with difficulties.

iFEMPOWER on the vlog

Furthermore, the concept of a summer and winter school will be developed in the framework of the project which will be an extra training for selected students. Besides acquiring further knowledge regarding entrepreneurship, they can get professional help for their own initiatives. This program will be complemented by coaching sessions to enable female students to further develop their soft skills and to map their weak points and work on these areas.

The research and the joint efforts of the contributing partners can reveal further interesting details about female entrepreneurship. It can inspire this field itself or the content of educational material but it can also promote the economic power of female businesses and female organizations as well. Furthermore, it shall achieve higher education providing its students with up-to-date economic knowledge and at the same time economy giving direct feedback to tertiary educational entities whether female students succeed as entrepreneurs with the knowledge acquired during their studies or not.

It can be exciting for sociologist to explore the cultural diversity of the different countries, such as the fact that female entrepreneurs live and work under completely different circumstances in Iceland or in Hungary. Finally, communicational professionals can find it remarkable if beside „mompreneurs”, also new groups and networks of young female entrepreneurs appear in online/social media connecting and supporting each other.
For the sake of completeness, we list the partners and associated partners of the iFEMPOWER project:

Hétfa Kutatóintézet (Hungary)
Andalucia Emprende Fundacion Publica Andaluza (Spain)
ONECO Consulting SL (Spain)
Sigmund Freud Privatuniversität (Austria)
Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovacao (Portugal)
Bifröst University (Iceland)
Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem (Hungary)
Universitatea Sapientia Din Cluj Napoca (Romania)
Steinbeis GmbH (Germany)

Associated partners:
Femspace (Austria)
PONT Group (Romania)
Icelandic Directorate of Labour (Iceland)

Associated partners can support the project and the work of the partners with their networks, their communication, by disseminating the topic of female entrepreneurship among female students and over their networks. They can recommend interviewees for project activities or can start a societal dialogue regarding the topic of female entrepreneurship.

We are right at the beginning of an exciting journey definitely worth following.


Popular Posts