Women mean business: 190 success stories
Lourdes, Soledad, Eva and Carolina: four women, four different backgrounds, each with a different story to tell. But they have one thing in common. All have ventured out of their comfort zone and taken the brave step of setting up their own business.
Lourdes (below) came to Spain from Brazil 13 years ago. After many years of working hard in the cleaning sector, she decided to create her own company specialising in eco-cleaning.
Soledad offers advisory support services to NGOs in areas where they are lacking in capacity and resources.
Eva and her business partner Raquel set up a creative studio specialised in the traditionally male-dominated field of design and construction of display stands. Within just seven months they had already secured work with the Milan Exhibition Centre.
Carolina overcame much prejudice and has now successfully opened a sexual coaching service.
Despite their different backgrounds, all these women shared a common vision: to build a business from scratch. Translating ideas into a business comes with many challenges however and all have benefited enormously from the EEA Grants-funded ‘Entrepreneurship Plus’ project. In total, 190 women have received business training and mentoring from the project, which is supported under the Gender Equality Programme in Spain.
Yolanda Fernández, Managing Director of the Spanish Federation of Progressive Women which runs the project, explained that the aim was to provide support at all levels and help entrepreneurial women overcome barriers they often face:
“We offer advice on how to create a company, assess skills and competence, and provide training workshops and networking opportunities. But this is not only a project about entrepreneurship project. At its core we are also working for equal opportunities for women.”
"Never give up"
A celebratory event was held for all 190 participants at the ‘Salón Emprende (Entrepreneurship) Plus’ earlier this month to mark the close of the project. Speaking at the event, Yolanda Fernández reiterated its achievements:
“The outcome could not have been better: 190 women from 4 different regions have taken part. They are all success stories, not necessarily all economic successes as yet – that will come later - but all are personal successes who epitomise the ethos that all problems can be overcome with hard work and never giving up hope.”
Also at the event, Pilar Soler, Executive Director of the National Focal Point for the EEA Grants in Spain, congratulated all participants and pointed to the sustainability of the results for the future:
“This project is not a series of small projects and stories but rather the seeds of a future business network in Spain which will reap big rewards and visibility in the future.”
The Spanish Gender Equality Programme has received a grant of €10.2 million from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants. The Norwegian Equality and Anti-discrimination Ombud is a programme partner.
The programme addresses persistent gender gaps in Spain, with a focus on gender equality in employment. Women from ethnic minorities in Spain are particularly vulnerable to social exclusion, and face additional obstacles and discrimination in the job market.
All photo credits: Spanish National Focal Point