With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for women entrepreneurs.
If you are a self-employed woman seeking support to launch your own company, you may be interested to know that the EU is encouraging women to start up in business and lending a helping hand.
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As women represent only a third of Europe’s self-employed workforce, the EU has tried to identify the obstacles that can make starting and growing a business more difficult for them, including lack of access to information, training, funding, mentors and support networks – not to mention difficulties balancing work and family life.
The EU has created the ‘WEgate-platform’, an online gateway with practical advice on how to start up and grow a business and access funding, e-learning materials, networking opportunities and details of local support organisations across Europe. It also finances the European Community of Business Angels, which helps women entrepreneurs to find funding, and cooperates with the WES policy network, which promotes female entrepreneurship at national level.
Under EU legislation, all self-employed women are entitled to a maternity allowance and to leave of at least 14 weeks, if they choose to take it. Additional flexible working arrangements in the EU’s new proposal for a work-life balance directive will hopefully enable more women to take part in the labour market as well in business activities.
Lastly, if you have received EU research and innovation funding at some point in your career, and founded or co-founded a successful company based on your innovative ideas, you could receive one of the annual cash prizes awarded as part of the EU Prize for Women Innovators.
- European Commission, GROWTH, Promoting entrepreneurship, https://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/promoting-entrepreneurship_en
- European Commission, GROWTH, The Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, https://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/promoting-entrepreneurship/action-plan_en
- European Commission, Research and Innovation, Funding, EU Prize for women innovators, http://ec.europa.eu/research/prizes/women-innovators/index.cfm