WE STRIVE TO EVOLVE AND SUPPORT WOMEN'S ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTIVITY IN THE AGRI-FOOD SECTOR ACROSS EUROPE.
The project will achieve this by developing the "Start Your Own Food Business" online training course, mentorship resources, and materials to specifically meet and support women's unique needs in the sector. A research report will be produced as an output, which will be used to inform the development of mentorship materials and resources.
Over the past decade- females have been grossly underrepresented, with males dominating 70% of the farm to fork activity across Europe. Trends have been increasing slightly, from an average of 12% in 2000-2009 to 14% in 2010-2019 (Agri-Food Strategy 2030, 2021), which need further support and growth to be sustained (Ward et al., 2019). The European Commission has highlighted that the sector needs a generation boost, as current data shows that only 4.2% of female farmers are under the age of 35 compared to just 29.2% of men. In addition, women face more difficulties than men, mainly in access to finance, training, networking, and reconciling family commitments’ when establishing and running a business (European Commission 2021; Educate to innovate 2019).
The Erasmus+ AWARE project will address this, boost females’ entrepreneurial skillsets and employment opportunities, create inclusion, and further reduce the gender gap in the Agri-Food sector across Europe.
The “Educate to Innovate” project developed entrepreneurial training materials for VET educators to enhance their training skillset and delivery using peer-led, practical methods to support their female learners better. During the project, unique barriers and challenges that entrepreneurial females faced pre and post-pandemic when running and starting their Agri-Food businesses across Europe came to the forefront. These findings helped to develop the needs analysis for AWARE.
Women have highlighted that they need available training specific to their needs as women entrepreneurs relevant to the Agri-Food sector. They need access to mentors that have Agri-business experience to support them on their journey. To be prepared to overcome challenges and learn from their mentor’s mistakes on preventing perceived barriers from becoming negative on both current and aspiring businesses. Along with this, women highlighted that they are motivated to engage with and have presented increased retention rates and more success in obtaining promotions.
Therefore, throughout this project we aim:
The project will achieve this by developing five key outputs that will address women entrepreneurs needs in the Agri-Food sector.