The number of self-employed women has risen in the last few decades, but the image of ‘the entrepreneur’ in Germany is still male-dominated. The number of businesses set up by women has recently seen an increase. Most of these are sideline businesses () as women often tend to opt for more flexible and hybrid forms of gainful employment, for example a combination of employment and self-employment on the side.
Entrepreneurship opens up a wide range of opportunities: it helps women realise their own ideas, be creative, determine how many hours and where they want to work, thus allowing them to better balance their working and private lives. More women entrepreneurs also mean more jobs and a boost to economic growth. A high level of diversity of business models and corporate cultures can also generate crucial competitive advantages.
Successful women entrepreneurs as role models
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy wants to encourage women to use their qualifications and skills to realise their own business ideas and to build up successful companies.
Under the Ministry’s ‘’ initiative, more than 200 women entrepreneurs from across all industries and parts of the country volunteer as ‘role model entrepreneurs’, making schoolgirls, trainees, students, graduates and other women interested in going into business aware of the opportunities and challenges of running one’s own business. This gives the women and girls a realistic and highly personal insight into what daily life as an entrepreneur is really like. The women entrepreneurs show how entrepreneurship can be an attractive career option for women. The ‘FRAUEN unternehmen’ initiative also helps to make the work undertaken by female entrepreneurs more visible – presenting their success, their dedication, and their contribution to the future of Germany’s economy.
Giving targeted support to women entrepreneurs
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy provides women interested in entrepreneurship with tailored information on how to set up a new business. Women entrepreneurs can access information on more than 2,000 regional partners via the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy’s and thus find networks, centres of women entrepreneurs and mentoring programmes.
In order to provide even more targeted support for prospective entrepreneurs and women and men interested in starting their own business, particularly during the planning stages, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and KfW have set up a platform for entrepreneurs that is free to use and provides entrepreneurs with a digital toolkit covering all steps of the process of starting one’s own business. It allows budding entrepreneurs to develop a first idea or business model, draft a business plan, enquire about funding and financing and contact the relevant institutions online. In addition, the platform hosts videos of successful entrepreneurs sharing their experience and giving useful advice. The platform’s network of partners currently consists of more than 600 key stakeholders from start-up funding. The platform has a special dedicated to women interested in starting their own business.