Better Incubation: bridging the gender gap in agriculture

Women face significant underrepresentation in top positions in European agricultural and livestock farms. The Better Incubation programme, led by Impact Hub and European-based partners aims to create a more inclusive entrepreneurial environment to bridge the gender gap. 

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Did you know that in Europe, only around 30% of women hold top positions in agricultural and livestock farms? Despite efforts to address this imbalance, rural women continue to face significant disadvantages compared not only to rural men but also to their urban counterparts. Recent studies reveal that policy initiatives have not yielded sufficient progress, and female leadership in agriculture remains an untapped source of economic growth.


To address this issue, Impact Hub and its European partners are actively participating in the Better Incubation programme. This initiative aims to create a more inclusive entrepreneurial environment in the region, with a specific focus on underrepresented groups such as women. Thematic Communities of Practice (CoP) have been established to facilitate the sharing of experiences and best practices for supporting entrepreneurs, including women. A standout example in this regard is the “Empowering Women in Agrifood” project.

EIT Food, Europe’s leading food innovation initiative, has been working towards a more sustainable, healthy, and trusted food system since 2016. The organisation is committed to fostering innovation at all stages of business creation and recognises the importance of supporting female entrepreneurs. This commitment is exemplified by projects like Empowering Women in Agrifood (EWA), which operates in 8 countries, supporting 80 female entrepreneurs across Europe through education, network building, and dedicated programme resources.


EWA’s primary objective is to bridge the gender gap in the agrifood sector, with a special emphasis on less innovative European regions. The programme promotes inclusivity and diversity among business founders, aiming to increase the number of female-founded start-ups. In a successful collaboration with Impact Hub Bucharest, EIT Food brought EWA to Romania.

Impact Hub Bucharest took a unique approach in implementing EWA in Romania, focusing on the specific needs of participants. This involved tracking mentorship sessions, resource allocation, and communication strategies based on participant feedback. Monthly evolution tracking and mentorship on real-world problems faced by entrepreneurs replaced traditional hard skills training. The programme provided capacity-building sessions, funding opportunities, mentorship, ongoing support, and a supportive community with high-level stakeholders.


The impact of the programme in Romania is evident from the positive developments observed among the ten participating businesses. Key results include:


  • 30% of start-ups acquired their first clients during the programme.
  • 40% improved their business operations.
  • 50% expanded their teams.
  • 40% enhanced their marketing strategy.
  • 60% established new partnerships.
  • 40% improved their pricing strategy.
  • 20% created new products.


Empowering Women in Agrifood is making strides in bridging the gender gap in European agriculture. With successful implementations like the one in Romania, the programme demonstrates the potential for transformative change and increased opportunities for women in the agrifood sector. As efforts continue, it’s essential to support initiatives that champion inclusivity, diversity, and the economic empowerment of women in agriculture.

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