Capitalizing on Change: The Resurgence of Women Entrepreneurship in Spain

In Focus: Some schemes and initiatives that are available for women entrepreneurs in Spain.

#WomenInBusiness #SpainEntrepreneurship #InnovativeVentures #WomenLeaders #BusinessRevival

Spain, a land of rich culture and vibrant history, is also witnessing a resurgence in innovative entrepreneurship. According to the latest GEM Spain National report (2022-2023), the business landscape, especially in the business services sector (B2B), is evolving, making it a fertile ground for medium-high technology entrepreneurship.

In 2022, despite the challenges posed by the health crisis and global events, a remarkable 6% of the adult Spanish population embarked on new business ventures, reminiscent of pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Moreover, the report forecasts a robust entrepreneurial future, with 9.4% expressing intentions to start a business in the next three years, which is a statistic not seen since 2012.

A notable aspect revealed by the report is the changing dynamics of entrepreneurship. Unlike the past, where above-average incomes dominated entrepreneurial ventures, 2022 witnessed a shift. Entrepreneurs are now initiating projects with less capital, indicating a democratization of entrepreneurship, and are open to individuals across various income brackets.

As we delve into the entrepreneurial landscape of Spain, we explore the role of women in this resurgence, how they are contributing to and shaping the evolving narrative of entrepreneurship in the country.

#WomenEntrepreneurs #InnovationInSpain #EntrepreneurialResurgence #GEMSpain #BusinessServices #EmpoweringEntrepreneurs

Here are some schemes and initiatives that are available for women entrepreneurs in Spain.

> Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) under the Mission’s Jump StartUp Initiative

It was announced in 2121, that limited funding is available to support activities that promote U.S.-Spain economic bilateral relations in the following priority area: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs. This was done by the Public Diplomacy Section of the U.S. Embassy in Madrid and U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona (known collectively as the U.S. Mission to Spain).

The Public Diplomacy Section invited proposals for projects, aimed at promoting entrepreneurship by empowering women entrepreneurs in Spain. This project proposal was framed under the Mission’s Jump StartUp initiative, which builds support for entrepreneurship and innovation as a means to encourage economic growth. This module will provide skills and resources to women entrepreneurs with startups and scale-ups in Spain – to help them grow their businesses, access and interact with the U.S. entrepreneurial ecosystem, and seek investment in the United States. Special focus is given to proposals that include businesses working in biotech, health, clean technologies, information and communications technology (ICT) industries, artificial intelligence, and Internet of Things fields.

> Fostering women entrepreneurship to fight poverty

In El Salvador, 80% of women’s jobs are created in enterprises that are owned by women. To develop and implement a model of recognition and empowerment of female entrepreneurship, the Local Economic Development Agency of the Department of Sonsonate has promoted a Centre of Entrepreneurial Services for women, which has made it possible for women to have access to business development services and to be better represented in the local governance.

The Local Economic Development Agency (LEDA) of the department of Sonsonate has become a leading agency in the country, particularly due to its strategy of integrating women in the process of local economic development of the territory. The creation of the Centre of Entrepreneurial Services for Women (SEM in Spanish) has favoured the recognition of the new prominence of women in business matters through the offering of more opportunities for the development of their own businesses. SEM fosters the development of specialized contents focused on women entrepreneurship, which can contribute in turn to the human development of women and society.

> Female Entrepreneurship Attraction Programme – ‘The Break’

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, via the Foundation of the School of Industrial Organisation (EOI) and with the collaboration of Impact Hub Madrid, has launched the Female Entrepreneurship Attraction Programme -The Break’, in 2022.

This programme aims to contribute to reducing the gender gap in entrepreneurship, to learn about and improve the projects of the women entrepreneurs taking part, and the creation of a European network of women entrepreneurs, the ‘breaker’ community, to create business and opportunities.

After sharing their innovation projects, the entrepreneurs will develop them in twelve local communities where an entrepreneurial ecosystem will be generated, in addition to synergies and alliances that will allow them to promote business models towards a regenerative economy.

The programme, funded by NextGenerationEU funds, is part of the government’s Recovery and Resilience Plan and has a budget of 10 million euros until December The objectives identified were: to increase the technological potential of women entrepreneurs, provide them with access to training and mentoring opportunities and accelerate their rise to the position they deserve; to promote professional role models in the STEM field for young women & to enable technology-oriented women entrepreneurs to make connections that will help them build their professional networks.

> Green or rural entrepreneurship

Policies to promote women’s green and/or rural entrepreneurship, developed by MITECO and public organizations attached to it, contain actions that promote effective equality between women and men.

This number of support lines is very small compared to all lines. Within the framework of MITECO’s 2019-2021 Strategic Grants’ Plan (PES in the Spanish acronym), out of 111 planned support lines, only 3 include actions that promote effective equality between women and men in projects related to green and/or rural entrepreneurship (2.7%), and in the context of the PES 2022-2024, only 9 of 86 support lines do so (10.5%).

However, from PES 2019-2021 to PES 2022-2024, the following has increased:

(i) the number of managing bodies with public support lines to green and/or rural women’s entrepreneurship, from (Biodiversity Foundation and Just Transition Institute) to (General Directorate for Policies against Depopulation adds to the former two); and

(ii) the number of support lines that include actions aimed at promoting effective equality between women and men, from 3 to 9.
Gender mainstreaming in these support lines is uneven. Two lines developed by the Biodiversity Foundation, both related to job creation and entrepreneurship within the framework of the Empleaverde Program, are the most advanced actions in this context. Among other elements, employability and/or entrepreneurship of women is one of their priorities, they include inclusive language in communication tools, the assessment criteria prioritize the presence of women, economic justification of actions related to women, and the most recent calls prioritise projects that address flexible times schedules and compatible with family reconciliation and also the gender balance in the number of trainers. Biodiversity Foundation planned to further improve the gender mainstreaming in 2023.

> WEConnect

WEConnect International is the leading supplier diversity initiative spearheading the connection of women entrepreneurs to multinational corporations and European government bodies. Their mission is – to ensure that majority women-owned businesses (51%+) are given fair and equal access to corporate and public sector procurement bids locally, nationally and internationally.

The WeConnect mission focuses on the fact that WEConnect International helps drive money into the hands of women business owners by enabling them to compete in the global marketplace.

The vision that WEConnect projects is – a world in which women have the same opportunities as men to design and implement business solutions that create wealth and the sustainable prosperity of their communities.

As far as their work goes, WEConnect International connects member buyers to women-owned sellers globally, enhances their capabilities to transact business and instills confidence that sellers meet buyers’ standards for women-owned businesses.

Currently they offer certification in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey & United Kingdom.

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