Thirty students and sixteen academics from across the alliance gathered on March 21st& 22nd at Université Paris Cité for a pioneering Female Founders Retreat to champion the issue of female entrepreneurship and innovation within the framework of Circle U.’s “Student-Led Sustainable Innovation” group.
Circle U. European University Alliance brings together Université Paris Cité, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, King’s College, London, UCLouvain, University of Oslo, Aarhus University, University of Belgrade, Université of Pisa and Université of Vienna.
Women often encounter certain gender-specific challenges when choosing the path of becoming an innovator. In Europe, women have some of the lowest rates of entrepreneurship compared to women in other regions of the world. The rate of entrepreneurial activity among European women stands at 5.7% compared with a world average of 11%.*
Inspiring female role models, women leaders, successful founders of start-ups, women in science and academia united together to share their experiences with the students from across the alliance. They exchanged ideas, addressed the issues and explained the current scientific data on women’s entrepreneurial activities across countries.
Building Skills and Confidence
Shifting perspectives about self-purpose and overcoming barriers are among the important topics discussed with the students. Often this comes into play when considering and developing an entrepreneurial project. Inspirational, skill-building workshops were organized giving students the opportunity to reflect on their strengths, to build self-confidence and develop leadership skills.
Creating a Student Led Female Founders Manifesto
The retreat concluded through the creation of a European, student-led female founders’ network. Following intensive brainstorming sessions, the students came up with common values, an action plan and the founding “manifesto” that will serve as the cornerstone aiming to strengthen and uphold collaborative entrepreneurial initiatives from women innovators who are creating the future face of Europe.
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*Global Entrepreneurship Monitor-GEM
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