NO (WO)MAN IS AN ISLAND: RAISING AWARENESS OF FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS IN MALTA AND BEYOND

The Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE) is a Maltese not-for-profit organisation committed to promoting women-led start-ups and established entrepreneurs.
They aim to help women in various sectors discover, refocus – and achieve – their business goals, by offering:
•    Vocational education & professional training programmes
•    Personal development & mentoring support
•    Networking meetings
•    Tips on EU projects & funding
True to its name, the FWE wants to establish entrepreneurship as ‘a way of life’ for women. According to Executive Coordinator Maryrose Francica, this means more than helping women entrepreneurs hone their skills, take advantage of opportunities and build sustainable businesses. Promoting women entrepreneurship is also about addressing issues that affect all women such as access to education and equal opportunity.

Sharing is caring
Mentoring networks are a key ingredient of the FWE’s work. They want their members to interact, share their successes and inspire other women of all ages and backgrounds to become entrepreneurs.
Since 2001, the FWE has been actively involved in mentoring networks at the national, regional and European level. These include:
•    Ambassadors in Malta for Increasing Women Entrepreneurs
•    Association of Organisations of Mediterranean Businesswomen
•    European Women’s Lobby
•    Female Entrepreneurs: Mentoring and Lifelong Learning across Europe

These mentoring networks continue online. Via the Foundation’s website and Facebook page, FWE members can ask for advice or learn about EU-funded initiatives supporting SMEs.

Minding the (gender) gap
Seated in the smallest EU country, the FWE has a unique perspective on the geographical, cultural and financial hurdles facing small businesses – particularly women-led businesses. There is a visible disparity between the number of men and women entrepreneurs. The question then is how to reduce this gender gap.
The Foundation’s mentoring and networking activities have raised awareness of the impact women entrepreneurs on the Maltese and regional economy. They have also helped members access EU funding. Looking to the future, the FWE is there for the long haul to get women into the workplace or start their own businesses.