Brussels, 06 May 2004
The European Commission is to award 931,000 euro to a new project aimed at promoting women entrepreneurs' participation in the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).
WomEn2FP6 is funded under the activity area 'Structuring the ERA [European Research Area]' under the specific programme 'Research and Innovation', and has the aim of training at least 450 women entrepreneurs and integrating 50 of them into FP6 projects.
'Women tend to start their companies under different circumstances than men,' Petra Püchner, the project coordinator, told CORDIS News. 'They usually start smaller businesses, often in the service sector.'
'Women are not so used to the business environment, they tend to go to public libraries to get information instead of going to the chambers of commerce like men would,' added Christina Diegelmann, also working on the project.
Thus, the starting point of the project was the realisation that women entrepreneurs generally are not aware of the possibilities offered by FP6 and that almost none of them participate in transnational cooperation.
'Women entrepreneurs tend to have less experience in management, find it harder to get loans, and do not advertise themselves or their expertise as well as men,' said Dr Püchner.
On the positive side, however, women do more research and tend not to take as many risks as men. As a result, although smaller and slower growing, companies run by women tend to be more successful and less prone to failure.
Women entrepreneurs are, therefore, recognised as playing an important role in the economic and regional development in Europe. Despite this, small and medium sized enterprise (SME) support organisations often neglect them. It is important that this state of affairs changes as 'women can contribute to FP6 projects in terms of gender balance and SME participation,' explain the WomEn2FP6 partners in a press release.
Involving 16 partners from ten EU Member States, this project aims to reduce the existing regional gaps in support of women entrepreneurs through transregional learning, training courses and seminars.
WomEn2FP6 brings together two types of partners: those with expertise in technology and innovation, and those with expertise in helping women to set up businesses. It is through bringing these various partners together that the partners will develop a strategy to effectively approach and integrate women entrepreneurs into FP6 projects.
Training will be offered depending on the needs and the creation of transnational clusters of women entrepreneurs. Furthermore an Internet database will be set up where women will be able to advertise their company, their expertise and what they can bring to an FP6 project.
For further information on 'Structuring ERA- Research and Innovation', please visit: