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Getting women to the top in business in the Eastern Partnership region was the intention of the second International Women’s Entrepreneurship Laboratory in Ukraine last week.
Policymakers, women’s business associations and women entrepreneurs of all ages put their heads together in Kyiv to tackle this age-old question from today’s perspective.
From 21 to 23 March, women from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine shared their entrepreneurial stories. They highlighted the challenges of embarking into the business world and discussed ways to promote women’s entrepreneurship as an economic issue, which is key to jobs and growth in the Eastern Partnership countries.
“Support to women’s entrepreneurship needs to be addressed as an economic issue. We need to link the dots, identify all women’s entrepreneurship support initiatives and agree on how we would bring the change to the system level,” said Olena Bekh, a specialist in entrepreneurship from the European Training Foundation.
Covering cultural, economic and demographic obstacles, some of the best entrepreneurial minds found inspiration during panel discussions, brainstorming and training sessions.
Businesswomen and policymakers perfected their pitching techniques, while presenting action steps for moving women’s entrepreneurship up on the national policy agendas back home.
The “Women’s Entrepreneurship Laboratory” also carried out an interim, informal review to track progress of Small Business Act policies implemented in the Eastern Partnership countries. The EU’s Small Business Act aims to improve Europe’s approach to entrepreneurship by simplifying regulations and policies.
Innovative approaches used in the laboratory raised the level of engagement and supplied creative energy for “WEstorming”. This included a catwalk for women entrepreneurs, a boxing ring for pitching country policies, and story‑telling for needs analysis.
The event was run by the European Training Foundation (ETF) under the European Commission’s Platform II of the Eastern Partnership.