The objective of the project is to enhance the leadership, management and entrepreneurial skills of 300 existing small- and medium-sized businesses and women entrepreneurs, reduce the human capital gap and increase the number of women entrepreneurs and managers of SMEs and scale companies so as to increase job creation and contribute to the national economies in the region.
Women’s involvement in the business sector is significantly lower than that of their male counterparts in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The main challenges identified are insufficient business management knowledge; the need for additional training and re-training, especially for business and management practices: and the lack of equity as well as unfavourable conditions for applying for and obtaining bank loans and credit.
With a total budget of €1 million over two years, the project aims to reduce the barriers for women by offering business and financial management training, hosting regional B2B (business to business) meetings, facilitating international mentoring and inviting entrepreneurs to participate in regional networking events. During the regional B2Bs, the project staff works closely with companies to identify their specific needs and facilitates meetings based on these needs. These may include introductions to strategic partners in another country, access to new customer segments to test a new product or meetings with potential investors. Mentors will come from the greater CEED network and will be paired with women in Albania, Morocco and Tunisia in order to give the women in the programme a global perspective when tackling challenges. Finally, the project’s annual conference is an opportunity for the companies participating in this programme to meet with other entrepreneurs and to potentially grow their businesses.
About the promoter and partner institutions
CEED Global is an American organisation with over 10 years’ experience working with entrepreneurs in emerging markets, helping them to confront their business challenges and improve growth by enlisting successful entrepreneurs as mentors. Since 2005, CEED has trained over 20,000 entrepreneurs, currently has over 3,000 active network members and has helped entrepreneurs increase revenue and job creation by, on average, 20%. It has also facilitated over 10,000 mentoring relationships, hosted more than 50 networking events and – with over 60% of entrepreneurs now doing business with other network members – has helped increase international business-to-business opportunities for small businesses.