FEM-Up: An academy at the service of young female entrepreneurs

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FEM-Up is an initiative focused on advancing the entrepreneurial and STEM digital skills of young women across Europe. It aims to promote social inclusion and gender equality through practical initiatives, providing women with the necessary tools and knowledge to develop and implement innovative business ideas. FEM-Up also seeks to raise awareness about gender equality and work-life balance within higher education, business fields, and among young people.

At the heart of FEM-Up is the merging of entrepreneurial and STEM competencies through specific training practices. These practices are designed to enhance the capacity of young women, empowering them to control their working conditions and acquire key competencies for designing innovative business ideas. By leveraging STEM, FEM-Up aims to create a more gender-balanced environment in higher education and the labor market, thereby increasing women’s employment and roles within their communities.

The project emphasizes the development of STEM in academic environments, particularly by promoting women’s participation in engineering, ICT, and advanced digital skills. Special attention is given to fostering gender-sensitive education through the FEM-Up curriculum and academy activities. The ultimate goal is to integrate this training program within higher education and business environments across the EU, using the consortium network to spread this mission effectively.

FEM-Up also aims to transform educational practices in higher education by providing students with concrete instruments and experiences that enable them to act as capacity-developing agents in their communities. The consortium, composed of higher education institutions and small and medium-sized enterprises, will co-design the FEM-Up curriculum, e-platform, and academy. This ensures that the training aligns with labor market demands and addresses skills mismatches within the labor market and society at large. The FEM-Up e-platform, e-courses, and online assessments will foster flexible learning pathways that are easily accessible and sustainable beyond the project’s duration.

The general objective of FEM-Up is to support women’s innovation and economic empowerment through work-based educational pathways. This includes providing real entrepreneurial support, facilitating the development of women’s entrepreneurial skills, and promoting gender equity. The project is committed to increasing women’s employment in innovative business areas and addressing unconscious biases related to female entrepreneurship and leadership.

FEM-Up’s specific objectives include empowering young women to become innovators and entrepreneurs by enhancing their skills, networking capabilities, continuous education, and peer learning through the FEM-Up Academy and mentoring program. This program is implemented locally in six countries (Slovenia, Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, and Malta) and at the EU level through the FEM-Up platform. Another objective is to break gender stereotypes and support gender equality in entrepreneurship and innovation. Among the activities one includes organizing a contest where young women can submit business plans, with winners receiving a free consultation and a customized visual identity for their business.

FEM-Up ultimately aims to inspire and encourage young women to overcome social and cultural barriers, increasing the number of female innovators and entrepreneurs in Europe.

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