Workshop: «Lost Opportunities, More Opportunities» Athens, 28/08/2017

A conference on skills and competences for the enhancement of female entrepreneurship will be held in Athens by the TEI of Athens in collaboration with TechniKi Ekpaideutiki SA, partners of the project “DIGITAL SKILLS AND TOOLS FOR YOUNG FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS”.


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And Here the Agenda

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Workshop : “Skills and competences on female entrepreneurship”

A workshop on Skills and competences on female entrepreneurship is going to be held in Athens by Techniki Ekpedeftiki S.A., TEI Athens and OUNL – Netherlands, partners of the project “DIGITAL SKILLS AND TOOLS FOR YOUNG FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS”.


ANNOUNCEMENT   Ανακοίνωση workshop Digifem en


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Conclusions of the Digi Fem European Project

After reviewing and analyzing the available data and studies on women entrepreneurship in Romania, Austria, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands, we can say that major efforts are still needed to develop this sector.


The main conclusions are:


  1. Women entrepreneurs are a highly undervalued resource, the one exception being Italy. In this country women entrepreneurs are very well represented.
  2. There should be promoted models of entrepreneurs to inspire other women who want to start their own business.
  3. The educational programs for women entrepreneurs need to be more numerous and also more varied.
  4. We need to have a real and current picture of the labor market and entrepreneurship
  5. The mentality of society is the foundation of entrepreneurial culture.


Data also shows that women entrepreneurs tend to get involved in areas where they have studied. This offers them an advantage by knowing the market and potential customers. They study the market, identify a particular problem and develop a solution as a product/service. However business development is difficult due to lack of funding, many initiatives being in danger of bankruptcy right from the start.

In what concerns the promoting of female entrepreneurship, these kind of activities are almost nonexistent except for programs organized by NGOs or female entrepreneurs. Official institutions do not organize events dedicated to women entrepreneurs nor support them directly.

There is also a necessity of a bigger concentration on skills training programs and the creation of a database addressed exclusively to women entrepreneurs.

Women entrepreneurs are generally educated and oriented towards areas such as education and health, while men entrepreneurs prefer more technical areas.

The average portrait of women entrepreneurs in the five countries analyzed, include the following characteristics:

– The average age at which they launch their own business: 35-45 years;

– Higher education;

– Married;

– At least one child;

– Runs a business in the qualification area;

– Takes law risks





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Socio- cultural influences on female entrepreneurship in the countries participating in the DIGI Fem Program


The socio-cultural influences are evident in female entrepreneurship in Romania. Women entrepreneurs are moving towards sectors considered more “feminine” like: tourism, trade and services. At the same time the values ​​which guide them are also more traditional: family, education, work and friends.

Women entrepreneurs prefer the sure way to success than take risks for potential bigger earnings. But they are more insistent than men entrepreneurs. Their desire to have a constant balance between their private life and entrepreneurship, makes them accept certain limitations, like fewer hours available for business development.

Men and women’s motivations for launching a new business are different. Women want to be entrepreneurs for economic reasons and not for social ones. Their desire to success makes them more willing to accept associations with other entrepreneurs in order to obtain the desire results. Also their constant perseverance increases their chances to succeed.



The reasons why women in Italy open their own business are quite varied: sometimes the choice is taken as a result of changes in their lives, in other cases is due to a desire to try something new, to have a professional challenge. Many entrepreneurs have launched in the business world driven by a desire to have their creativity and professionalism recognized. For women who come from families with a tradition in entrepreneurship, we have a continuation of this lifestyle. In this case the financial resources come from within the family.

For many young women the entrepreneurship coincides with their first real job. These are young women with a medium to high level of education, with few to no options on the labor market. Their desire for autonomy and professional development is often associated with a change in living conditions, an opportunity offered by someone or losing a job.

Entrepreneurship is proving to be the only solution also for women who want to return to the labor market.



Austrian entrepreneurs receive a strong support from the state. Besides a well-developed infrastructure and one of the largest concentrations of banking institutions, Austria offers several national and regional funding programs. In addition, the support of the state is also a practical one and not just financial.

However, in Austria there is a high degree of avoidance of entrepreneurship due to risks posed by this domain. A strong cultural reason appears to be the extremely negative perception of business failure and a high degree of orientation towards a future that involves no risks.

Another cause of entrepreneurship avoidance is the lack of courses on this subject in primary school and high school. In addition, bureaucracy, high taxes and tariffs deters potential entrepreneurs.

Because women also have a huge responsibility concerning their families and children, they have a less flexible work schedule. Therefore they tend to start businesses from home or part-time entrepreneurships.



One of the main factors influencing women’s entrepreneurship development in the Netherlands is the lack of confidence in the future. A study (Bruins & Snel, 2008) showed that women entrepreneurs are less optimistic about the future, given the international economic context. The lack of optimism transfers on the way they perceive their own business. This is the reason why a large number of Dutch women entrepreneurs opt for a part-time business.



The economic crisis had a major impact on the real economy, leading to tougher credit conditions, massive reduction of trade and decreasing access to finance. All these and many negative social effects of the crisis led to a sharp decrease in the number of entrepreneurs.

Greece gender segregation persists in the labor market, with a clear distinctions between male and female occupations. Therefore women are excluded from many functions and have occupations that are less paid.

Greek women don’t have many opportunities either in occupying positions of leadership and decision-making in administration, politics and business. This proves a weak confidence in their capabilities, but also a lack of courage on their part.

Most women entrepreneurs have an average income, unlike men who record higher revenues.

One of the most important characteristics of female entrepreneurship is the small size of the businesses and the small number of employees. Another feature is the tendency to develop businesses within the family, the percentage being nearly 50 %.


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Entrepreneurship education in countries participating in the DIGI Fem Program


Until recently, entrepreneurship was just a theoretical concept for those who wanted to open a business. But starting with 2013 it became a subject of debate in middle school and a high school compulsory subject. Even training companies began to engage in developing the entrepreneurial culture in Romania by offering internships. During these internships students can see the difference between theory and practice and have a better understanding of the realities in the Romanian society.

A step forward was also made by the National Qualifications Authority ( NCA ) by placing in the national register, the concept of entrepreneur, with the code 112032. Now that there in an official concept, there can be developed a standard that must be respected by both entrepreneurs and training programs.

Female entrepreneurship education is based more on programs funded by the European Union aimed at ensuring equal opportunities for women in the labor market (Treaty of Nissa, Horizon 2020 Programme, the European Social Fund):

Sectorial Operational Programme Human Resources Development 2007-2013, Axis 6.

National Rural Development Programme, Priority Axis 3, Measure 312.

  • The National Network of Female Entrepreneurship Ambassadors funded by EC
  • The UNCTAD / EMPRETEC-Romania for supporting the development of small and medium enterprises
  • Sectoral Operational Programme Increase of Economic Competitiveness, Priority Axis 2.
  • Regional Operational Programme 2007-2013, Priority Axis 4.



In Greece there are no major differences between the type of entrepreneurial education available to men and women. Instead, it can be noted that today Greek entrepreneurs have a much higher level of education than their predecessors. All these indicate a welcomed professionalization of the field.

Although women have a higher level of education than men, this difference does not materialize in entrepreneurship. An important factor it seems to be confidence, a field in which almost everywhere in the world, men led detached.



Italy is one of the European countries with the largest number of young people that are part of the so-called NEET category, that consists of young adults who are neither employed nor continuing their studies. In 2010 Italy had about 2.11 million NEET, of which 1.2 million women. In the south of the country, 1 in 3 young women falls into this category, which means a rate of 33.2%.

Through Circular AOODGAI / 6693/2012, as part of the programming of the European Structural Funds 2007/2013 and implementation of the “Action Plan for the collective improvement of public services in the South”, the Ministry of Education promoted certain directions for the development of entrepreneurial skills and initiative. Such actions were carried out to ensure training and improving the basic skills needed in entrepreneurship for students 16-19 years old.



The Netherlands is one of European countries that has developed successful national programs for entrepreneurial education.  A good example is the Women Inc. initiative. The program focuses on supporting women 35-55 years old, with a poor education. Women Inc helps women in this category, to regain financial independence by opting for further education or a specific training. An important aspect is that the program also guides them towards future activities that suit them best, be it volunteering, finding a job or starting a business.

Another successful program is “Eigen KRACHT” (Own Strength). It aims to help more than 1 million women unemployed and with low levels of education. The program helps them to take the necessary steps to improve their education and find a job.




Women entrepreneurs from Austria benefit from a strong support from educational Women in Business Association (FIW). This is an independent platform, consisting of approximately 100,000 businesswomen from Austria. Its purpose is to improve conditions for women entrepreneurs. One of its main missions is to reconcile entrepreneurship and family life. FIW regularly organizes presentations, seminars and events.

Specialized courses for women entrepreneurs are also offered by the Academy for Young Entrepreneurs and small business holders. It provides training for businesses women who have been in the market for no longer than three years and have not yet employed any staff.

Women who want to start a business are also supported by the Vienna Business Agency. The institution offers a very attractive package for any start- up – women entrepreneurs can rent a fully equipped office in one of the two locations in Vienna, in highly favorable contract terms.

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Promoting women’s entrepreneurship development in the countries participating in the DIGI Fem Program


The promoting of female entrepreneurship in Romania is generally achieved by projects initiated or financed by CCIR (Romania’s Chamber of Commerce) and sometimes under the patronage of membership organizations of women (Women’s Association of Romania, the Romanian Women Entrepreneurs Association etc). Numerous promotional events takes place in the form of galas: Successful Women’s Gala, Entrepreneurs Women’s Gala, etc.

A strong promotion is achieved through funds provided by the European Union for Romania. Each project financed has a promotional side, through which are presented the activities of the project, the area of implementation and the target group. Most of these projects have their own website, created during the first months from the signing of the contracts. These platforms include not only information about the project itself, but also about other services offered by those receiving funding: consulting, vocational training in entrepreneurship, announcements related to the calls of founding the business ideas. (e.g.,,

The conferences dedicated to promoting female entrepreneurship have a strong impact on local communities. These events are organized by the Association for Women Entrepreneurship Development (ADAF), in collaboration with the press group Bursa.  They bring together entrepreneurs from various fields: agriculture, tourism, industry, education and services.



In recent years the European Union has tried to help the development of entrepreneurship in rural areas. This support was not confined to financial assistance but also to develop procedures for startups, marketing plans to promote products and services, offer access to modern technologies etc. Yet the data show that most rural entrepreneurs have not benefited from these facilities.

Most women entrepreneurs prefer not to resort to this kind of institutional support to avoid controls by the authorities. It seems that the entrepreneurs from rural areas rely on their own skills and material resources.



Most campaigns and initiatives to promote women entrepreneurs are made under the patronage of the Chamber of Commerce. This kind of events are organized in different regions by branches of the Committees for Women in Business

The most important channels of information dedicated to women entrepreneurs are some websites, created by associations representing employers of certain productive sectors. Examples:

– (Confesercenti)

– (ColdireTti)

– (Confartigianato)

– (CNA)



The entrepreneurs in this country benefit from numerous types of support. The physical infrastructure is highly developed and enables the creation of high-growth companies. Austria has also a strong commercial structure, having one of the largest concentration of banks worldwide. Numerous national and regional funding programs are supporting new businesses and development. But even more important is that the support is not just financial but also practical.

However, there are some problems. Cultural and social norms prevent many to assume the risk posed by entrepreneurship. The main cause was identified as the lack of courses on entrepreneurship in primary and secondary education.  Additionally, bureaucracy, high taxes and tariffs inhibit business development.



In recent decades the Netherlands focused on promoting entrepreneurship as an equal opportunity for both men and women and also for youth and adults. Efforts have been made to promote women in various industries and to promote powerful role models, from different social groups

Increasing the visibility of entrepreneurs was achieved mainly through women’s networks, institutions and sector organizations. At the same time the government has manifested its support in various campaigns promoting the importance of entrepreneurial education and women entrepreneurs.

The Dutch Queen is a strong supporter of women’s entrepreneurship, actively participating in several events that support this field and women’s empowerment in general.



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Access to finance and support programs for entrepreneurs from countries participating in the DIGI Fem program



Potential entrepreneurs have quite a few options in terms of funding, and most of those available come from the EU Cohesion and Structural Funds. According to official statistics, private credit institutions do not trust start-ups.

State intervention in support of the launch of new businesses, is limited to the SRL-D program and fiscal incentives such as: low income tax, non-payment of VAT if the income does not exceed 35,000 euros/year or the tax exemption for the establishment of a limited liability company.

The SRL-D program

The program for the stimulation of the establishment and development of micro enterprises is a program that provides funds although not very large (with a limit of 10,000 Euros) proves to be extremely useful for young entrepreneurs. Through this program are offered facilities for new micro-enterprises, founded by young entrepreneurs working, for the first time, in business through a limited company – according to Law 97 of 2014. The limited liability company is named in this program SRL debutante, hence the abbreviation SRL-D. The program will be operational by 2020 and it is expected to have at least 550 beneficiaries, every year.

Another important aspect is that this program offers other benefits, such as:

  • guarantees for loans up to a maximum of 80% of the loan amount requested up to 80,000 euros;
  • exemption from social security contributions paid by employers for income earned for time worked for maximum four employees (permanent employees);
  • exemption from registration fees for operations at the trade registry for registration of microenterprises;

The SRL-D program is the best option available for women entrepreneurs, is much safer and easier than attracting private investors.



The access to financial services, credit or tax exemptions has been drastically reduced by the economic crisis that began in 2008. Greece’s economic structure is based on tourism, services and public sector jobs. The first sectors affected by the economic crisis, were services (particularly financial and commercial sector) and tourism, by decreasing the number of customers. Gradually the problems have spread to the individual level, affecting domestic consumption and resulting in bankruptcies, restructurings and rising unemployment. State intervention was materialized by reducing public spending and introducing austerity measures that generated major social issues. Tax increase was followed by a massive restructuring of labor, which led to an escalation of already existing social problems. An important cause of this situation was the lack of a clear and coherent framework for measures to stimulate economic growth and create jobs.

The crisis had a major impact upon the real economy and led to tighter credit conditions, declining demand and trade, and a decrease in access to finance. Therefore many businesses have shifted from long-term development plans, to short-term survival strategies.




There is some evidence that women entrepreneurs may find more difficulties in accessing the credit market compared with firms owned by men. Women-owned firms can be considered risky by banks because they tend to be smaller, less growth-oriented and active in less profitable sectors.

GUARANTEE FUND FOR FEMALE ENTREPRENEURSHIP – Department of Equal Opportunities at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade Association and the National Bankers Association signed in 2014 a memorandum of understanding to facilitate access to credit for SMEs and self-employed women.

The banks that joined the protocol established a specific ceiling for new investments and for starting new activities, which will benefit from the State guarantee of last resort, due to the Special Section of the Central Guarantee Fund for women entrepreneurs. The dedicated ceiling will be used for credits related to certain lines of action:

– ” We invest in women ” – loans aimed at new investments, tangible or intangible, to develop activities of a business or profession;

– ” Women in start- up” – funding aimed at encouraging the creation of new businesses;

– ” Women in Recovery ” – loans aimed at promoting the recovery of SMEs and self-employed workers who, because of the crisis are temporarily passing through difficulties.



The New Business Promotion Act helps start-ups and those who have taken over companies in saving start-up cost. All are exempt from court and stamp fees, federal administration fees, land transfer tax, capital duty and stock exchange turnover tax, all of which are set out when the new business is established or takeover by successors. To apply, the new owner must not have worked as an independent business within the same sector in the last 15 years. In addition it must also have attended a counseling session on start-ups, with specific interest group.

Various federal and/or local funding are available to existing companies and start-ups. These funding programs and assistance are geared towards investment needs and specific financing (growth, research and development, innovation, technology). Examples: financing programs for young entrepreneurs, business start-up savings plans, guarantees and business start-up funds.




The access to financial instruments in the Netherlands is marked by the following milestones:

– Seed Capital for Technostarters provides financial support for SMEs in 2012 as part of the Global Program for Supporting SME Innovation 500 million which aims at supporting start-ups who focus on technological innovations (Seed, 2012)

– The BbZ Program (BbZ) is there to help individuals in social situation. This regulation supports people to open a start-up or continue with their start -up or continue as entrepreneurs. (2004)

– Dutch organization for SMEs (2015) provides financial advice to entrepreneurs/starters via twelve lending coaches. These coaches seeks to provide objective and independent advice for women with questions about entrepreneurship, finance and credit opportunities.


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DIGI FEM – Primul Workshop în România

Miercuri 28 octombrie a.c, între orele 09,30 și 15,00 a avut loc în centrul Bucureștiului în sala de conferințe Bordeaux a Hotelului Novotel, primul workshop de informare privind proiectul “Competențe digitale și instrumente de lucru pentru tinere femei antreprenor” finanțat din fondurile Programului Erasmus+, 2014-2020.

Pe durata evenimentului echipei organizatoare a Asociației Alternative pentru Performanță formată din Ioana Hîrțescu, Fănica Pădurețu, Roxana Pietroiu și Ana Anton li s-au alăturat:

 Dna Osnat Peled – Business Woman Forum Romania

 Dna Andreea Paul – deputat

 Csilla Lorencz – antreprenor

 Corina Scarlat – reprezentant ANOFM.

Discuțiile interactive și exercițiile de grup în care au fost implicați cei 40 de participanți au pornit de la informațiile privind situația antreprenorilor în România și particularitățile antreprenoriatului feminin din România în context european.

Beneficiind de experiența speaker-ilor invitați și de interesul manifestat de participanți a fost dezbătută necesitatea platformelor online de învățare, a curriculumului de formare și utilitatea certificării competențelor de antreprenor.

Feedback-ul pozitiv din partea participanților confirmă atingerea obiectivului de informare a workshopului și necesitatea susținerii evenimentelor asemănătoare pe măsura dezvoltării etapelor proiectului.

În cadrul proiectului “Competențe digitale și instrumente de lucru pentru tinere femei antreprenori”, finanţat din Fondurile Programului Erasmus+, 2014-2020, ALPER este partener cu Techniki Ekpaideftiki K.E.K. S.A., Technological Educational Institution of Athens, Berufufsfoerderungsinstitut Oberoesterreich, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen și Staff Consult S.R.L.




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At the begining of July 2015 took place in Bucharest, Romania, the firs transnational meeting of Digi-Fem partners.
The partners meeting is an invaluable forum for communication-providing a showcase for the work done and an opportunity to appreciate and best practice from the partners.
The three days meeting was organised in Bucharest at Hotel Christina by ALPER, the new Romanian partner. The gathering allowed ALPER to present himself and also invigorate the relationship between the members.
The discussed themes have included:
• overview of project activities, time schedule, dissemination activities and interim report;
• the preparation phase for Digi-fem toolkit, planned schedule for finalization, and MOOC preparation phase;
• deadlines concerning the survey professional methodology and framework and needs to extend the deadlines;
• presentation of UDE contribution to the project, LINQ 2015;
• report on dissemination activities;
• the “DIGIFEM as a case study in Bologna University;
• possible controls during the implementation of the Erasmus plus programme;
• budget clarification.
An entertaining exchange of ideas and information between the members led to the decision to include the online conferences in the process of implementation of the project.
In the dissemination plan of the project a major contribution was the attendance to the International LINQ Conference 2015, an international conference for lively debates and interactive sessions who`s scope is the modernization and improvement of learning, education and training through the focus on Learning Innovations and Learning Quality.
All partners expressed their continuing commitment to the project and are looking forward to the activities coming up


bucharest meeting 2015 p2


bucharest meeting 2015 p3

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Ireland: Occupational forecast for 2015

Changes are likely in the sectoral and skills mix of employment, according to an occupational forecast for the Irish economy for 2015. The report is the latest in a series of manpower forecasts which began in 1991.

While employment in most occupations is expected to recover from the lows reached in 2010, the report says that the speed and the extent of recovery is likely to vary by occupation, with some occupations emerging with relatively strong employment growth and others failing to reach pre-recession levels by 2015.

The occupations expected to exceed pre-recession peak levels are concentrated at the higher end of the skill scale. They include professionals and associate professionals (technicians) in the areas of science, engineering, business services and IT. Occupations which, while growing after 2010, are not anticipated to recover to 2008 peak levels, include skilled building workers, production operatives, unskilled manual workers, sales assistants and clerks.

Combined managers/proprietors, professionals and associate professionals are expected to account for 38% of the total employment in 2015 compared to 34% in 2008 (and 31% in 1996). When these groups are combined with clerical workers, the forecasts suggest that, in 2015, 50% of workers will be in ‘white collar’ employment (up from 44% in 1996).

The overall employment level is based on the Economic and Social Research Institute’s latest forecasts for recovery, whereby employment in 2015 is projected to be some 80,000 below the peak level reached in 2008. However, given an estimated loss of 330,000 in employment between the 2008 peak and 2010, the projection implies that the economic recovery, which is expected to begin towards the end of this year, will generate 250,000 additional jobs between now and 2015.

The number of females in employment is expected to exceed its pre-recession level by 2015, while male employment, although growing beyond 2010, is not expected to recover to the pre-recession level by 2015. Females are gaining share in many occupations, especially high skilled ones. By 2015, females are expected to account for more than a half of business services professionals and almost a half of all managers.

Improvements in the educational profile are likely to continue during the forecasting period, with the share of third level graduates increasing in all occupations. By 2015, over 90% of all professionals are expected to hold a third level qualification.
Behan, J & Shally, C: Occupational employment forecasts 2015 (FÁS/ESRI Manpower Forecasting Studies report no. 13)
Source: ReferNet Ireland

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