Did you know that, in Europe, only around 30% of women account for top positions in agricultural and livestock farms? In addition to that, rural women still face serious disadvantages compared not only to rural men, but also to urban women.
Despite policy efforts to reduce these differences, recent studies show that the progress has not been sufficient. Female leadership and entrepreneurial potential remain – no doubts – an untapped source of economic growth that should be further encouraged and supported.
To change this scenario, Impact Hub and European-based partners are taking part in the Better Incubation program. As part of the initiative that aims at a more (and truly) inclusive entrepreneurial environment in the region, thematic Communities of Practice (CoP) were created for participants to share their experiences on how to best support entrepreneurs from under-represented groups – for instance, women. When evaluating the peculiarities of this target group in terms of barriers, opportunities and available support programs, Empowering Women in Agrifood came about as one of the best practices in Europe dedicated to triggering the much-needed systemic changes and supporting female entrepreneurs.
Fostering Innovation to Support Female Entrepreneurs
Europe’s leading food innovation initiative, EIT Food, has been working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted since 2016. Building an inclusive and innovative community to “foster innovation at all stages of business creation” is one of their main goals – and for that end, supporting female entrepreneurs is a must-do. Which leads us to Empowering Women in Agrifood (EWA).
EWA is one of the projects supported by EIT Food, which focus on supporting female entrepreneurs through education, network building, and dedicated programme resources. It is present in 8 countries and has supported 80 entrepreneurs all around Europe throughout a 6-months long entrepreneurial journey. EWA’s ultimate goal is to overcome the existing gender gap in the agrifood sector with a special focus on less innovative European regions. How do they plan to achieve it? By promoting inclusivity and diversity between business founders, and increasing female founded start-ups.
Bringing EWA to Romania: a journey led by Impact Hub Bucharest
For the implementation of Romania’s chapter of EWA, EIT Food partnered up with Impact Hub Bucharest. The first edition of the program in the country was successfully run between May and November of 2020 – thanks to the great satisfaction of participants and growing interest of stakeholders, EWA has the potential to keep opening new (and more) doors for women in the Romanian agrifood sector.