In focus: Some Government schemes & initiatives for women entrepreneurs in Germany
Women contribute significantly to the German economy. Women constitute around 50% of the population and are highly trained professionals, who create new products/ services & jobs. And, it is remarkable that in their roles as decision-makers, they are actively shaping the future of the country.
Equal opportunities in the workplace is a factor driving the economy. So, providing support for women in business, plus highlighting their achievements by making it more visible – is both an economic policy goal & also an important objective of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. The #StarkeFrauenStarkeWirtschaft series of events gives women entrepreneurs and female decision-makers in business an opportunity, to share their views and interact with senior representatives of the Ministry – on challenges to gender equality in the business world and how to arrive at solutions.
Here are some schemes and initiatives available to women entrepreneurs in Germany.
> ‘FRAUEN unternehmen’
Gender equality is an integral part of the Ministry’s policy – with initiatives like ‘FRAUEN unternehmen’. This shows how the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action adheres to its guiding principle of the Social Market Economy, which understands social justice and inclusion as a basis for everyone to share in prosperity.
The aim is to increases awareness about the potential of women’s entrepreneurship through career guidance and the promotion of women entrepreneur role models in the media. The initiative ‘FRAUEN unternehmen’, is already building a network of women entrepreneurs that can be deployed across the country to promote entrepreneurship to women.
The initiative is a strong step and it can be extended to reach society more broadly – through the media and through entrepreneurship education in primary and secondary schools, as well as in the vocation training system and in higher education. It is important to promote all models of entrepreneurship, (including part-time and social entrepreneurship), and to reinforce the idea that entrepreneurship is not only about technology innovations.
> Two Women Win (TWIN)
The TWIN initiative was launched in 2001 by the KäteAhlmannStiftung (KAS), a foundation founded in the same year by experienced women entrepreneurs, who recognized a need for a mentoring programme for new female entrepreneurs (http://www.kaete-ahlmann-stiftung.de/home.html).
TWIN started as two-year-pilot project. And, in 2004, the initiative was expanded to cover all regions in Germany and is now co-ordinated by KAS while the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women, Youth (BMFSFJ) supported the national expansion.
The picture is like this – mentees can apply for a one-year mentorship, provided that they still are in the first year of their business activity. And, mentors are experienced women entrepreneurs, who volunteer.
The success rate of TWIN is high. Besides, TWIN has been promoted widely throughout Europe and beyond. According to KAS, the demand for mentorship services is growing consistently and it is seen that many mentees have managed to set and grow their businesses, successfully.
> WeiberWirtschafteG ( Entrepreneurship network)
WeiberWirtschafteG, is an entrepreneurship network, established 1992. It was set up as a network for female entrepreneurship centres (“Gründerinnen/ und Unternehmerinnenzentren“). Currently the network consists of 15 centres in nine federal states in Germany (WeiberWirtschafteG).
The goals of the network are clearly categorized into certain focused areas: to facilitate the establishment of more female entrepreneurship centres, to offer subsidized office space and meeting rooms for women entrepreneurs and also to assess gender mainstreaming in the German fiscal policy.
> National Agency for Women Start-ups Activities and Services (bga)
Germany supports women entrepreneurs basically in order to mobilize the potential of women start-ups in industry. The National Agency for Women Start-ups Activities and Services (bga), which is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, the Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, represents a first step towards increasing the number of businesses set up by women. Significantly, the bga offers the political, business, academic and public sectors a platform for information and services related to women entrepreneurship, in all areas and phases of company foundation, consolidation and succession.
> Projekt Zukunft
Promoting Women in varied sectors like – Digital, Media, and Creative in Berlin is of prime importance.
Projekt Zukunft has been committed to supporting women in the tech industries – enhancing their visibility, fostering networks; and measures include – information campaigns and stocktaking, roundtables for Berlin women’s initiatives, panel discussions, networking, and startup pitches, eg at Tech Open Air, Wear It Live and female.vision Summit. Finally, start-up funding, eg for the Womenize! Games & Tech platform, completes the list of important measures.
Since 2001, the Economic Administration has offered a regular exchange platform with the Berlin Women Entrepreneurs Day and the Women Entrepreneurs Academy. Since 2004, the “Berlin Women Entrepreneurs of the Year” award has honoured committed women who act as role models for female entrepreneurship.
The incubation support program Berlin Startup Scholarship expanded its focus areas in 2021 to include “Women in Tech.”
Other offers by the State of Berlin:
– Gründen in Berlin – Information platform on starting a business in Berlin,
information can be displayed based on offers and contact points for women
– Gründerinnenzentrale – Initial contact point for women founders in Berlin
– WeiberWirtschaft – Center for women entrepreneurs in Berlin
– UCW – Unternehmerinnen Centrum West with a focus on creative industries
– Berufsperspektiven für Frauen – Berlin Consulting Network for Women on Career and Education
– Berlin Startup Scholarship – Accelerator programs, e.g. for Women in Tech
– Further business development programs by the State of Berlin
– Funding programs by the Senate Department for Health, Care and Equality to support consulting services for women founders, professional training (e.g. on IT, media skills, digitalization), and professional skills analyses, orientation and qualification courses for women, especially in areas in which women are underrepresented (e.g. tech, MINT, crafts).