European Parliament exhibition ‘Women Entrepreneurs: Five Pillars for Growth’

On 19-21 February, a three-day exhibition, ‘Women Entrepreneurs: Five Pillars for Growth’ co-hosted by MEPs Joana Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D, Poland) and Malgorzata Handzlik (EPP, Poland), was organised at the European Parliament. The event was supported by the Irish EU Council Presidency, numerous Members of the European Parliament, as well as the European Commission and about 30 women entrepreneurs and business organisations exhibited at this event. Seldia, the European Direct Selling Association, took charge of the exhibition and the events.   Some photos from the Exhibition   The exhibition's aim was to highlight the urgent need to address the barriers to entrepreneurship. This was done by basing it on Five Pillars: women entrepreneurs’ networks, access to finance, education to entrepreneurship, awareness rising of innovative business ideas, and targeted government initiatives. Creation of the Platform At the exhibition, 15 of the 30 participating organisations held a meeting at which the Women Entrepreneurship Platform was created.  The WEP already started to expand very soon after this, with two new members joining the Platform in June and July 2013.

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The European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Viviane Reding and the European Commissioner for Internal market and Services Michel Barnier were keynote speakers at the exhibition. They jointly reaffirmed the will to increase the number of women entrepreneurs by making role models more visible and to improve women entrepreneurship in Europe by improving social protection and funding opportunities. Part of the Exhibition programme was the lunch debate at the exclu­sive Members Salons of the Euro­pean Parliament, at which Members of the European Parliament Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, Finland), Ria Ommen-Ruijten (EPP, Netherlands), Marian Harkin (ALDE, Ireland), Corazza Bildt (EPP, Sweden), Mary Honeyball (S&D, UK) and Teresa Jimenez (EPP, Spain) expressed their concerns regarding women’s entrepreneurship in Europe.