Empowerment through Enterprise 2017-2019

Entrepreneurship makes a vital contribution to the Europe 2020 goals of achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. As a route to self-employment and business creation it addresses economic challenges and fights social and financial exclusion. Social entrepreneurship has the additional benefit of empowering young people to generate positive impact in their community.

Entrepreneurship education is particularly important for women and ethnic minorities who continue to face challenges in the labour market. Women are a third less likely than men to start a business (Burt, L, Inclusive Support for Women in Enterprise, 2015) and within immigrant populations women have significantly lower rates of employment, many working in jobs inferior to their educational attainment. (Hinds, “NI Economy: Women on the Edge, 2011).

As project partners, we see this in our daily work. In the Dungannon area nearly 10,000 people - 6.4% of the population- were born outside the UK/Ireland (compared to NI average of 4.5%.) (NI Strategic Migration Partnership Report 2014). STATS ON DEMAND FOR SERVICES. In Ireland too inward net migration continues, and statistics show that while 50% of 2016 male immigrants have third level education, this rises to 60% in female immigrants. (CSO)

Public policy documents often refer to ‘inclusive’ entrepreneurship, but, on the ground, entrepreneurship education is simply not yet a viable option for many young women from immigrant backgrounds. In addition to language, there are gender, family, cultural and social capital barriers.

As entrepreneurship education providers, we recognize these needs. However, we are not yet prepared to meet them: the rate of socio-demographic change has simply outpaced our ability to evolve as a service provider in our increasingly diverse and multicultural society.

PROJECT is based on the premise that our entrepreneurship education must become more inclusive, so as to unlock the personal and professional potential of young female immigrants across Europe and contribute to greater social cohesion.

In order to achieve this, we will work with entrepreneurship training providers in the VET and youth sectors to drastically improve access to and quality of entrepreneurship training for these groups by:
i) Developing a “REACH AND TEACH” CATALOGUE (IO1) presenting both good practice approaches to marketing to/engaging with minority groups and also pedagogical techniques that are culturally appropriate and effective.
ii) Using this to create a ETE CURRICULUM AND CLASSROOM COURSE MATERIALS (IO2) that establish learning objectives, assessment techniques and suggested content and lesson plans to enable the effective development of entrepreneurship skills and competences for young female immigrants.
iii) Converting the latter into an OPEN ONLINE COURSE (IO3) that teaches those skills online in a multilingual, user-friendly format to maximize accessibility and learning outcomes.
iv) Rigorously test outputs with our target users and improve these resources before DISSEMINATING them to maximise their uptake in participating countries and beyond.

As a result of the project:
- thousands of young women experiencing differing levels of marginalization will access high quality entrepreneurship education, benefitting from improved employment options, inclusion and empowerment.
- Hundreds of providers of entrepreneurship education – including partner organizations – will be equipped to provide inclusive entrepreneurship training suitable for contemporary multicultural societies.
- Local communities will benefit from increased levels of entrepreneurship, business creation and a strengthened social fabric as young women from different backgrounds play a more active role in the community.

No issue is more transnational that that of migration. And yet while it is advantageous to the economic growth, it also presents very substantial challenges to the Europe 2020 vision in terms of inclusive growth and social cohesion. As a recent EU Action Plan on Integration recognises, “national economic and social policies will need to cater for the inflow of migrants and refugees, in particular to provide for their integration into the labour market and society.” Given that these issues are so embedded in EU and national policy, it makes sense that any effort to address them should also take place on this scale.

Moreover, given the rapid pace of change, we believe that by joining forces with European partners we will be able to leverage a much greater, and more up-to-date understanding of the issue and produce high quality tools and resources more quickly that could be achieved on our own.

Finally, by integrating different national perspectives and expertise, the outputs of the project will be much more likely to be used not only in participating countries but as resources that can be adapted and scaled throughout Europe, improving the reach and impact of the project.