Lourdes, Soledad, Eva, Raquel or Carolina are only five out of 190 women that have taken part in Emprende Plus Project, within EEA Grants Gender Equality Programme, a project which fights for equal opportunities through female entrepreneurship support.
Lourdes came to Spain from Brazil 13 years ago and after many years of hard work in the cleaning sector she decided to create her own company specialized in green cleaning. Soledad is helping to change the world providing counsel and assistance to NGOs so they can focus on their important role. Eva and Raquel set up a creative studio versed in designing and building of stands, a traditionally male-dominated world, and in just seven months they have managed to work in Milan Exhibition Centre. Carolina was not intimidated by the prejudices she found when she decided to open a sexual coaching service and now her dream has come true.
These are different stories with something in common: these women have left behind a comfortable life to launch themselves into the challenge of turning an idea into a business. Along the way they have encountered and are encountering many obstacles, especially financing barriers, but they don’t give up. To do so, they have counted with the support of Emprende Plus Project, developed by the Spanish Federation of Progressive Women, within the Gender Equality Programme operated by the Women’s Institute and for Equal Opportunities and co-financed by the EEA Grants.
Yolanda Fernández, managing director of the Federation, explained that the objective of the project is “to provide comprehensive support to entrepreneurs and business women, from advising in how to create a company to assessing their skills and competences, training workshops, or monitoring their companies, without forgetting networking”. But she added, “this is not only an entrepreneurship project, is something deeper, is working for equal opportunities”. The outcome could not have been better: 190 women from 4 different regions have taken part. They are all success stories, not economic success –that will eventually come later- but personal success: keep going and overcoming problems with hard work and hope.
Pilar Soler, Executive Director of the Spanish National Focal Point, opened the final seminar of Emprende Plus Project pointing out the “special features and challenges” of female entrepreneurship. “This project is not small projects added together but the seeds of the future business network in Spain and its big results will be visible in the future”.
Gender Equality Programme, managed by the Women’s Institute and for Equal Opportunities, is funded with 10 million euros from the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism.