Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Supporting female entrepreneurship

on Friday, May 15th 2015 à 11:15 | Read 1267 times

With the support of the Secretariat of the UfM

After a first successful phase, the Union for the Mediterranean "Young women as job creators" scheme, developed by female business leaders, has been extended to three more countries, namely Egypt, Tunisia and Albania.

Working session in Morocco on the project "Young Women as job creators". Photo Afaemme
Working session in Morocco on the project "Young Women as job creators". Photo Afaemme
The "Young women as job creators" project, which has been approved by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is already in its second phase. AFAEMME (1), a federation of associations of Mediterranean businesswomen, which currently comprises 44 associations in 27 countries around the Mediterranean, is tasked with implementing the project.
"During the first phase we looked in particular at competency gaps and funding problems" explains Stella Mally, AFAEMME's international coordinator.
The scheme has benefitted to 800 young students from 32 Mediterranean universities (in Morocco, Jordan, Palestine and Spain). The UfM was able to convince donors including Norway and Gas Natural to support the initiative. Monaco will be involved in "Phase 2" of the project, which has an initial budget of €350k to fund work in Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, Albania and Egypt. The position of women in these six countries is similar in several ways. They all have a high level of unemployment, excellent standards of training, and societal barriers, which prevent them from achieving their full potential. "We now need to equip young entrepreneurs to be better able to access funding", adds Stella Mally.

"No gender distinction in new business creation"

The first phase of the project noted that there are no "gender specificities" in new business creation. This applies to all industry sectors. "Stereotypes stem from the way women are viewed in each country, which is why it is important for us to bolster the resources of local partner associations. That's why our federation operates as a network", adds Helena de Felipe Lehtonen, president of AFAEMME.
There are several other schemes involved in promoting female entrepreneurship around the Mediterranean, including the American NGO CEED (Centre of Entrepreneurial and Executive Development). This NGO is dedicated to all new entrepreneurs, but has a high proportion of women in its Mediterranean delegations, particularly in the Maghreb.
In Morocco, new or existing entrepreneurs represent 100% of the beneficiaries of the CEED support programme "Grow". This project is currently being developed in partnership with the UfM, allowing guaranteed growth through the development of networks and know-how. The scheme is part of a general trend of the feminisation of the business world in Morocco, which currently has 5000 female entrepreneurs but where women still only represent a quarter of the working population.
(1) Association of Organisations of Mediterranean Businesswomen

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