EMERGE is an EU Erasmus+ project bringing together project partners and experts from Poland, Denmark, Norway, Turkey, and Ireland. This project aims to increase the number of female entrepreneurs in engineering by transforming their access to and the quality of the training they receive from Entrepreneurship, VET & HEI institutions. Increasing the number of female entrepreneurs is a key priority in the EU for reasons linked to economic and social development. The lack of female entrepreneurs is particularly evident in the field of Engineering. Despite high-profile role models, overall female innovativeness and participation in the engineering sector have decreased, and ‘an unconscious bias’ still prevails.
Poland, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, and Turkey are among the countries that have introduced measures to improve the institutional framework for female enterprise, but more needs to be done to overcome individual barriers, making sure that sure the small but growing number of females studying/working in Engineering are helped to identify entrepreneurial opportunities and build their business skills. The problem is that our VET and HEI institutions are ill-equipped to do so: most are unspecialized in the specific strategies that are shown to work best with female entrepreneurs; their staff is trained in generic/traditional business models (not Engineering specific) and they are not connected to universities/HE institutions to recruit graduate females emerging from Engineering subjects.