The WEGATE initiative is a one-stop shop for women entrepreneurs that has three main functions. First it acts as an information hub for women entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business, or are already operating a business. For example, women entrepreneurs can find information on business creation, business development, regional markets, good practice examples, case studies and profiles of successful role models. Second, the website provides information and links to where women can access local entrepreneurship training programmes, networks and mentoring programmes. Third, the website acts as an online platform for networking for users who register, connecting aspiring and success women entrepreneurs and other support providers.
9.6 million women were self-employed in the European Union in 2016, representing 9.9% of working women. This was well below the proportion of men in self-employment (17.5%). The web portal tries to help address this gender gap by providing tailored information on business creation and offering women entrepreneurs an opportunity to grow their networks.
The website (https://wegate.eu/) provides information on national and international business expansion to enter new markets, business partnerships, staff matters, legislation and taxation, financing and funding, as well as innovation and research. WEGATE also maintains a database of national, EU and international programmes and websites dedicated to entrepreneurs. Finally, the portal brings together not only women entrepreneurs, but also their mentors, policy makers and all relevant stakeholders and supporters.
In 2018, the online portal counts 458 registered users across a range of sectors and countries. Most prominent sectors of registered women entrepreneurs are services, communications, food, textiles and clothing, ICT, culture, tourism and financial services.
This case study was adapted from material published in: OECD/European Union (2018), “Policy brief on women’s entrepreneurship”, Publications Office of the EU, Luxembourg. https://doi.org/10.1787/f493861e-en