The kick start meeting for the Erasmus+ funded project Enprendia was held at Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar on the 11th and 12th of February of 2019. The meeting was attended by all the consortium partners. This was the first official meeting for all partners in a common forum, and the two-day session began with the welcome address by Dr. Mrutyunjay Suar and a general round of introduction. The framework of the programme and the expected outcome from the program was elucidated by Ms. Surekha Routray, who also walked the team through the different technical, financial and legal aspects of the agreement. The details about the Management (general and financial), monitoring and administration of the project were explained to the team by Mr. Damien Hanet. The payment modalities, the deliverables and the timelines for the same were discussed and agreed upon by mutual consensus. A generic discussion on the nuances of women entrepreneurships and an insight into the lives of two women entrepreneurs from the local ecosystem ended the events for the first day. The second day began with a tour of KISS (Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences), the largest tribal university in the world, which amazed all the delegated in terms of the size, discipline and the positive and inclusive impact it is creating in the ecosystem. All the partners shared a brief about their organisation, the key activities that they carry out, there strengths and how the strengths can be leveraged for the project at hand. This also set the tone for a granular discussion on all the six work packages so that all the partners could have a clearer understanding of the nuances of the project and can plan accordingly. The tentative dates for the next two study visits which are at Glasgow and Dublin (Study Visit-1) and at Lisbon and Santiago de Compostela (Study Visit-2) were discussed and the meeting closed with a note of great enthusiasm with all the partners looking forward to begin working on the project. A great start to an impactful project!!

First preparation meeting in Glasgow (10th to 11th of June 2019) and Dublin (13 th to 14th of June 2019) The first study visit was a composite visit comprising of inputs to be given by two universities. The first leg of the visit was hosted by our consortium partner the Glasgow Caledonian University located in the very heart of the city of Glasgow. As per our Glaswegian colleagues we were lucky to witness the few days of sun per year the weather offers the city. The meeting schedule was packed with interactions, workshops, visits and presentations given by a variety of experts, professors, researchers and entrepreneurs. The aims of the meetings were to give an overview of the various policies, legislation, programmes and activities on EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion), on Women entrepreneurship and on the social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Scotland and Glasgow. The discussions that happened after (and during) each presentation were engaging, interceptive and greatly infused with the desire to understand deeply the intervention that have enabled the positive change. There were questions fusing from every partner (In order to keep this report readable, the full account can be read here) which were aptly answered by the experts who had given the discourse. The two workshops enabled the delegates develop their empathy by questioning their own bias and creativity by giving them exercises and tools to think outside of the box. The visit to UHatch, the incubator of GCU, was remarkably interesting since it had just started, thereby providing an excellent opportunity for the group to understand the process behind setting up an incubator within university walls, the technical and administrative challenges while setting up the same and the steps taken to work around them and achieve the desired outcomes. On the second day, there was a short virtual management meeting to discuss financial modalities, the layout for the next study visit to Lisbon and Santiago de Compostela, and the dissemination of the project at events the required worked by all the partners. The study visits in Dublin happened on the 13-14th of July. The presentations were also focused on EDI and women entrepreneurship but put in the perspective of the Irish context. Our guest speakers told us about the very regressive laws and practices that were, and still are in place, and the recent changes that are happening with the help of UCD. The visit to UCD Nova, an incubator for companies hosted within the university campus was educative and interesting. The two representatives of the Incubator gave a lot of information about the programmes they run and the support they provide to their incubates and the progress that the onboarded incubates have made so far. The Dublin visit ended on a cheerful note with the closing happening in the informal setting of Tropical Popical, a nail salon offering, on top of lovely nails, along with a space for socialisation and social actions. The first study visit was highly informative and fruitful thanks to the organisation of the GCU team (Rose Cawood and Dr Carolyn McMillan) and UCD team (Dr Dorota Szelewa, Dr Mary McAuliffe and Dr Aideen Quilty).

Project outcome: The Gender report

The teams of UCD and MSU compiled a report that showcased various aspects of the social- economic development in partner countries with a strong emphasis on the gender equality. The report aims to understand the current situation of women entrepreneurship in India and compare it to various European countries while providing some recommendations to bridge the gap.

The data collection was done via a mapping tool which was a questionnaire with topics ranging from basic socio-economic conditions for gender quality, to policies, strategies and practices enhancing gender equality, including gender equality in higher education.

Among the background economic and social data used were the GDP per capita, GDP growth, the labour market (economically active population), unemployment rate, the GINI index, gender parity Index, the percentage of GDP financing education, the percentage of GDP financing social protection. The Indian GDP per capita is the lowest but among the fastest growing although having a lower percentage of economically active population with an extremely low percentage of women working.

The other indicators used were to understand the entrepreneurial conditions (doing business index, ICRG indicator of quality of government) and a qualitative analysis to understand the risk relating to business. While for the European countries are doing better than India, they remain highly influenced by external business environment and the aftershock of the 2008 financial crisis. India main barriers are the administration and law.

The report also gives an overview of the work-life balance policies and their analysis. In the European countries, the increase of women at work is due to an increase of women working part time and public sector jobs. There is also a lack of engagement of women in education, employment and entrepreneurship due to a shortage in positive policies. The situation in India is worse since policies such as public childcare is not widely available although the country has a strong maternal leave policy.

The rest of the reports focuses on the female role, participation and support. Women are generally more included within the policy making, politics and participation in business in Europe than in India although all of them have a structure to promote equality and prevent discrimination.

In higher education there are no quota regarding the student but there are some for management (notably in Austria and Portugal). There is also some mechanism to promote higher education towards women especially the STEM streams.

A significant work has been done by all the countries to promote female entrepreneurship via training, mentoring, and networking. There are numerous initiatives to give access to finance to entrepreneurs in general but also special mechanism for women who want to start their own ventures.

After an overview of statistics, policies, mechanism the report puts forth eight recommendations:
  1. Central and state government should collect and analyse high quality data at a regular and frequent interval.
  2. All projects aimed at fostering entrepreneurship should be more thoroughly evaluated.
  3. The social protection given to employees should be extended to entrepreneurs (like self- employed) in order to reduce the familial risks.
  4. Countries should give access to high quality and flexible childcare services (even during education and/or training).
  5. The actors in female entrepreneurship training should cooperate more (administration, NGOs, higher education and private players)
  6. Access to finance can be achieved via a cooperation between government and non- governmental actors.
  7. Increase the online presence and offer from the government to ease the access to resources and tools for entrepreneurs.
  8. The financing of women entrepreneurship should open to more technical sectors in order to avoid “trapping” women entrepreneurs in “feminine sectors”.

We held several meetings to conclude the 2019 year.

Enprendia’s second preparation meeting took place in Lisbon (9-10th September) and Santiago de Compostela (12th-13th September).

The meeting started in IST on the 9th of September, with the delegates receiving a warm welcome from Prof. Luis Miguel Silveria, VP of External Affairs. The technical sessions included talks from IST Gender Balance Group (Professor Inês Lynce & Madalena Queirós) on the work required within the university to reach gender balance; Female Engineer for a day by Mrs Sara Correira from the student support unit where female high schoolers get to experience the job; Mrs Ana Lucas presented the result of a project which aimed at increasing the gender diversity in STEM. The sessions included a visit to Inês Viveiros (The Formula Studio) and the Tagus Park. There were presentations by Prof Miguel Amaral who talked about the Sinnolab model and with Marte Brito, manager at Women in Tech who explained the promotion work they do to get more women in STEM. Prof Ana Teresa Freitas from The Heart Genetics shared her entrepreneurial journey with the delegates.

The key points explicated in the Management Meeting were:
  • Publication of the Study visit report.
  • Recap of the WP aims and objectives (including all sub objectives)
  • Development of the feedback forms and the Quality Assurance framework
  • Publication of Newsletters and content contribution by the consortium.
  • Project Budget and the spending pattern along with the deadline for the setting up of the ERC and the procurement of the Equipment for the same.
  • Consolidation of the meeting agenda for 2019 and 2020

A key outcome of the extended relationship from the SILICE project was the signing of the MOU between KIIT and IST for further deepening the bilateral ties with faculty exchange and student exchange programs.

On 12th September, the Enprendia delegation started the USC leg of the preparation meeting. The rector of USC Prof Antonio Lopez Diaz welcomed the delegates and gave an insight about the university stressing on the activities and special interests in promoting gender equity within the university and the local communities.

The technical sessions started with a presentation from the RSE Innolabs talking about GEMCAT blended methods of training on CSR training, networking, mentoring programme for SME and individual tutoring, followed by the session of Prof Nuria Calvo, (Member of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) from the University of A. Coruna, on female entrepreneurship in Spain. Prof David Rodeiro spoke about the famous spin off model where the academia hand holds business in the early stages and create accelerator programme with the private sector. BIOGA shared their mindset behind their investment pattern and parameter and how it became a success in more than 26 biotech start up. Prof Alva Pombo Vazquez from UNIRISCO (Galicia VC) spoke about the investment done in the spin off and Prof Elena Perez Carillo (University of Leon), she covered the role of women in corporate governance in Spain. Visits to TECALIS a cross border project for conciliation and equality and UNIEMPRENDE where the talks revolved around interesting aspects such as IP and valorisation of technology added new dimension to the understanding the ecosystem.) The External evaluator for the Project, Dr Carlos Machado gave a presentation on risk assessment in the framework of European projects.

All India Management meeting at the University of Hyderabad 5 th November 2019

The first all India partner meeting was convened to recap of the objectives of the first year and the progress mapping of the Indian Partners. Each partner presented an update of their progress during the first year showcasing a varied range of activities keeping in mind their internal strengths. Partners identified the content they would like to get from the EU partners as part of the training which will be delivered over the second year of the programme.

The acceptable definition of a “women led enterprise” for the project was discussed and a mutual consensus was arrived at for the below mentioned definition.

“A company where the Idea is coming from a woman or the IP is held by a woman or the leading role is held by a woman”.

The growth tracking parameters were shared to create a tangible monitoring pattern of the progress of the project and the impact of the dissemination events conducted. The minimum numerical impact was revisited, the qualitative indicators discussed and the key documentation data points were finalised. The meeting culminated with an insightful talk by Prof Banerjee of the University of Hyderabad on “Stages at which women entrepreneurs are to be on boarded”.

The second All India Management meeting at Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences 12 th -13 th December 2019

The Indian Partners meeting at DMIMS Wardha was held on the 12th and 13th December 2019. This was the last meeting of the year and the key discussions were:
  • Growth indicators for mapping of the progress of the entrepreneurs
  • Outreach models for the creation of a robust pipeline and their documentation
  • The designing of the course curriculum to be integrated in the mainstream courses of the respective universities.
  • Hands-on workshop for the Financial documentation and report submission of the project
  • Quality monitoring and mapping parameters and submission of feedback forms

Informative sessions on the Gender Equity and Equality measures taken at DMIMS by Dr. Ashish Anjankar, the Internal Grievance Redressal mechanism including Sexual Harassment policy by Dr.Neelima Thosar & Dr. Seema Singh was followed by a session with the Unnat Bharat Coordinator. A guided tour to the various incubation centres from different programs was a fitting ending to the two meeting.
End of the first year project milestone.

As 2020 starts here is a quick overview of what was done during the first year of the project and the objectives for the second year.

Series of meeting:
  • Kick off – Bhubaneswar.
  • Preparation – Glasgow and Dublin
  • Preparation and management – Lisbon and Santiago de Compostela
  • Management – Hyderabad
  • Management – Nagpur
  • Development and Management – Santiago de Compostela
Work complete:
  • WP1.3 Develop of policy recommendation and roadmap for India.
  • WP4.1 Elaboration of quality plan for Enprendia. Our partners from MSU and IST have drafted the quality plan for the project. This means they have selected certain metrics that will be used to survey the quality of the implementation of the projects throughout its lifetime. To monitor these metrics, the team has created a series of questionnaires and forms that will be either submitted after each event or self-administered upon reaching/doing certain task.
  • WP4.2 Elaboration of Index system for gender equality with HEIs and preparation of self- assessment. Our partners from UCD and MSU also created the
  • WP4.3 First Internal monitoring and peer review
  • WP4.4 First External evaluation on project implementation Work in progress:
  • WP2.1 Establishment and purchase of equipment for ERCs
  • WP2.2 Preparation of training modules by EU experts in management of ERCs, reinforcement of university-enterprise cooperation, creation of start-ups and elaboration of business plans
  • WP3.1 Preparation of training programme to enhance entrepreneurship and science among schools and young people.
  • WP3.2 Development of coaching system within India ERCs
  • WP5.1 Development and maintenance of project website and social media
  • WP5.2 Development of newsletter

First Training in USC Compostela We were back in Spain for Enprendia’s first training session coupled with one management meeting. The training focused around how to build an eco-system by analysing how the Innovatia 8.3 created its own. Ms. Eva Lopez spoke about the evolution of interest of Spanish university from the 1980s (research) to the 2000s (Spin off). The journey included the need for formation of EMPRENDIA and the realignment of the focus towards women was based on scissor report. The report showed that there are more women at Bachelor and Master level within the university (almost cross stream except for engineering which is male dominated) but at senior teaching position like senior professor and university head the curve changes and we can see a male dominance, a similar pattern reflecting the entrepreneurial domain.

An internal analysis identified the main reasons as stereotypes and the lack of technological skill (for more recent generations) and initiated remedial measures.

Mrs Lopez then spoke about a few successful women entrepreneurs while accounting the role of their incubator EMPRENDIA and Innovatia 8.3 in their journey of success.

The procedural manual for the three phases of Innovatia: the preparation, the mentoring and the evaluation were explicitly explained, and Mrs Lopez stressed the importance of the involvement of the board of the university.

An interactive discussion led to the identification of thirteen points which influences women entrepreneurship: Motivation, risk assumption, initiative, availability, resistance to frustration, self- confidence, access to funding, access to information, administration capacity, gendered sectors, leadership type, role model and family context/network. Suggestion on creation of a network of female mentors and the creation of an online platform for specialised training (which the programme will do with the LMS) were put forth.

Belen Mendoza, from the Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the special programme they are running for women entrepreneurs. Their programmes are generally funded by the local, state and the EU via the EROFEM.
The ongoing pandemic has popularised digital communication and developed new ways of staying connected. We have gone 100% online. We held several management meetings to map the path forward for the project with the new travel norms and social distancing regulations that were mandated by the state and central government of the participating countries. We held virtual trainings sessions in June and November to keep the momentum of the program.

In June, we had a 3 day training session were Prof Jorge Gonçalves (Instituto Superior Técnico) gave trainings on “Strategies for community engagement and identification of stakeholder” and “Mapping the local system (support mechanism, funding, business plan development and evaluation)”; Dr Julie Thomson and Dr Sonya Campbell-Perry presented (Glasgow Caledonian University) two topics “Creating an innovative and entrepreneurial environment/culture in the university” and “Soft skills for entrepreneurs”; lastly the team from Amity Kolkata presented a paper on “Industrial design thinking in relation to smart ecosystem development”.

In the training conducted in the month of November we had Dr Fiona Henderson, Robbie Norval, Melissa Mesek and Professor Lorna Paul, from the Glasgow Caledonian University as the list of presenters and they had a very interactive sessions covering key elements like how to plan your incubator, business plans and how to fund funding opportunities; they also presented UHatch the incubator of GCU. Lastly Dr Miguel Amaral (Instituto Superior Técnico) closed the training session of 2020.

During this year, we decided to showcase the resilience and grit of the women entrepreneurs by conducting mini interviews of them and getting their testimony on the impact of covid 19 and how they responded to it. The videos of the interviews have been uploaded on our Facebook group so that other entrepreneurs in similar situation can draw motivation and inspiration from them; we have pasted transcripts of these interviews in this newsletter.

One of the major milestones from last year was the submission of the mid-term report to the Erasmus + agency. The mid-term report is the first of two report the consortium has to give to the executive agency to show how the budget has been use and how the programme has been advancing.

As we enter the last year of the programme with EU funds, we still have a lot of work to do but we are striving to complete what we had aimed to achieve with this project.