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Awareness to action: developing women’s entrepreneurship in the Eastern Partnership

Women’s entrepreneurship and innovation in Eastern partner countries was the focus of the Women4Digital Future virtual networking event on 28 November 2022. EU4Digital ICT Innovation hosted the meeting, which gathered together more than 70 participants from around 60 women-led innovative businesses and Eastern Partnership ecosystem organisations and experts working on women’s entrepreneurship. 

Ministerial level representatives, agencies coordinating the development of innovation ecosystems and other players such as innovation, financial support and consultancy organisations that empower start-up ecosystems, ICT business associations and women’s support organisations joined the call. The discussion explored existing gaps in empowerment as well as available support opportunities within the EU.  

“The smart thing to do”

EU4Digital Facility Team Leader Mr. Artūras Piliponis opened the event and introduced the EU4Digital programme. Mr. Thibault Charlet, Programme Manager on Digital and Economic Development at DG NEAR (European Commission) then gave the keynote speech, presenting the EU priorities and introducing some of the EU-funded programmes that address women’s entrepreneurship, financial inclusion and digital skills, and which are accessible to organisations in the Eastern Partnership region. For example, WEgate supports women entrepreneurs in starting and building up their businesses; the Womenat platform is the European network for professional women in the digital economy; and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Women in Business programme provides financing and business advice.  His key message was that gender equality has a strong positive impact on GDP and supporting women’s economic empowerment, financial inclusion and innovation is vital for economic growth, prosperity, and competitiveness.

Mentorship opportunities 

Participants were then introduced to Women Go Tech – a successful mentorship programme started in Lithuania, which encourages women to choose careers in ICT and engineering. 

The Women Go Tech experience inspired the EU4Digital Facility to develop its guidebook on Setting up mentorship programmes to bridge the gender gap in ICT in the Eastern partner countries. 

The non-profit, non-political professional organisation Women Business Angels (WBA) featured in the second part of the event. This enables women and men to become ‘angel investors’ (individuals who provide capital for a business or start-up) and internationally competitive entrepreneurs. 

WINGATE is a project implemented jointly with WBA. It offers an innovative online knowledge centre for women-owned enterprises, providing a unique opportunity for angel investments, including in some of the Eastern partner countries such as Moldova.

Investment and funding

The co-CEO of Female Founders presented this 65,000-strong community of investors, operators, business professionals and entrepreneurial leaders, as well as a variety of opportunities for female-led start-ups. 

The thematic presentations can be accessed at the following links:

For more information, please access: