Mommypreneurs is an international project that is implemented across several EU Member States: Cyprus, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain. It provides young inactive women on maternity leave or caring for children with training on digital and/or entrepreneurship skills to improve their potential in re-entering the labour market and starting their own business.
The Mommypreneurs project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the European Economic Area (EEA) and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment.
Maternity leave increases the likelihood that women drop-out of the labour market and tends to slow career progression. Many young women also experience difficulties keeping or finding employment after maternity leave. The Mommypreneurs project reports that each year in the EU, due to pregnancy, over 7% of women lose their jobs, 45% suffer some financial loss and 50% are less likely to be promoted. The project also reports that maternity leave contributes significantly to the gender pay gap: it estimates that the “motherhood wage penalty” ranges from 5% to 25% across EU countries. The programme aims to help address the gender pay gap and tackle youth unemployment among women.
The programme offers two months of free in-person and online training provided by professional and certified trainers (320 hours of training over 9 weeks). The programme is implemented by local partners in the participating countries. Applications are accepted several times a year and aspiring participants can apply online. Complimentary childcare is offered to participants. The programme is organised in two tracks. The first track provides digital training to women interested to work in digital services, either as freelancers or in a company. The track includes digital skills training (including topics such as web design or e-commerce). It aims to enable the participants to become self-employed or have better career prospects as employees. The second track offers entrepreneurship training to women eager to start a business. For this track, topics include value proposition, marketing, sales, and finance. The track aims to help participants develop their business ideas, launch a start-up, and commercialise products or services. The programme also aims to connect participants with relevant contacts to help them grow their business (or move into employment), including company networks, employers, local businesses, investors, mentors.
How did the programme adapt to the Pandemic? Due to the pandemic, the training was moved to a fully digital format. This helped increase access to participants in different regions that would not have been able to attend the programme in person due to their location.
The programme is scheduled to run over 2014-21. As of May 2021 Mommypreneurs had held 40 training groups with 1 285 participants, of which 1 015 were under 29 years old. By the end of the programme, it had led to the creation of more than 170 businesses and more than 180 participants had found employment. The programme exceeded its participation target of 1 050 young mothers.