Smart women Eras­mus+ project

The Malta Business Weekly - - NEWS -

As per of­fi­cial fig­ures pub­lished in 2017, women em­ploy­ment rates across the EU range from some 48% to al­most 80%, but the EU av­er­age stands at 78% for men and 66% for women.

To reach the Europe 2020 tar­get of a 75% em­ploy­ment rate for both women and men, par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion needs to be given to the labour mar­ket par­tic­i­pa­tion of women.

The im­pact of par­ent­hood on labour mar­ket par­tic­i­pa­tion is still very dif­fer­ent for women and men, with only 65% of women with chil­dren un­der 12 work, as op­posed to 90% of men. This may re­flect the un­equal shar­ing of fam­ily re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, but also of­ten sig­nals a lack of work-life bal­ance op­por­tu­ni­ties.

With the main aim of ad­dress­ing this is­sue, The Malta Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Au­thor­ity leads an Eras­mus+ project called Smart Women. In col­lab­o­ra­tion with six other Euro­pean part­ners, a Euro­pean Train­ing Model was cre­ated, with the main ob­jec­tive of help­ing women with a busi­ness idea to de­velop it fur­ther and launch it on­line.

Through cross bor­der sales, Europe of­fers a great deal of op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­nesses to grow in the sin­gle mar­ket. Nowa­days the vast ma­jor­ity of con­sumers opt to search the web be­fore mak­ing a pur­chase. This presents a great op­por­tu­nity for en­trepreneurs to in­crease con­sumer reach lo­cally and cross bor­der. This rate is ex­pected to in­crease as more peo­ple gain the dig­i­tal skills re­quired to take their busi­ness on­line.

The Smart Women train­ing pro­gramme, spe­cial­is­ing in En­trepreneur­ship and eCom­merce, pro­vided as­pir­ing fe­male en­trepreneurs with the nec­es­sary tools to trans­form a busi­ness idea into a suc­cess­ful en­ter­prise, with the ul­ti­mate aim be­ing that of im­prov­ing the em­ploy­ment prospects or busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties of the par­tic­i­pants.

The pro­gramme con­sisted of on­line train­ing via an in­no­va­tive eLearn­ing Plat­form, to­gether with 40 hours of face-to-face train­ing, guid­ing par­tic­i­pants through a series of mod­ules, in­clud­ing Busi­ness Plan­ning, Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing, Cre­at­ing Dig­i­tal Con­tent, ICT and On­line Se­cu­rity and eCom­merce.

To cel­e­brate the suc­cess of fe­male par­tic­i­pants who com­pleted the pro­gramme, the Malta Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Au­thor­ity or­gan­ised a Project Clo­sure Event. Par­tic­i­pants shared their ex­pe­ri­ences and dis- cussed how the knowl­edge they gained through this train­ing pro­gramme helped them ex­pand their busi­ness ideas.

Participating in a panel dis­cus­sion dur­ing the event, Sil­vio Schem­bri, par­lia­men­tary sec­re­tary for Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices, Dig­i­tal Econ­omy and In­no­va­tion, high­lighted the mea­sures that are be­ing taken by gov­ern­ment to en­cour­age women to be more in­volved or re­turn to the labour mar­ket, such as the free child care ini­tia­tive. How­ever, he said that al­though this and other ini­tia­tives have at­tracted more fe­male par­tic­i­pa­tion in the labour mar­ket, still a lot re­main to be done in this as­pect as women de­serve to ben­e­fit from the same op­por­tu­ni­ties as men.

In a recorded mes­sage, Aaron Far­ru­gia, par­lia­men­tary sec­re­tary for EU Funds and So­cial Di­a­logue, spoke about the ad­van­tages of the dig­i­tal sin­gle mar­ket not just for dig­i­tal buy­ers, but es­pe­cially for the op­por­tu­ni­ties cre­ated for sell­ers, who may freely sell to mil­lions of Euro­pean cit­i­zens over the in­ter­net. He high­lighted the ad­van­tages of this spe­cialised train­ing pro­gramme with an in­vest­ment of €200,000 funded by the Eras­mus+ pro­gramme that has pro­vided par­tic­i­pants with the tools and op­por­tu­ni­ties nec­es­sary to make their busi­ness a suc­cess in the dig­i­tal era.

This project forms part of sev­eral ini­tia­tives that the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is push­ing for­ward to foster women’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in em­ploy­ment, as a means to boost the econ­omy and bridge gen­der gaps within so­ci­ety.

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