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Do women start greener businesses? Are women’s companies fairer? These questions were addressed by the project FrauenUNTERNEHMEN Green Economy, which supports companies contributing to a sustainable – and for us that means above all, caring – economy.
Most businesses run by women are small businesses or microenterprises, like 96% of all undertakings in Germany.
Women’s businesses and start-ups tend to already play a particularly progressive role in dealing with the responsibilities of family care in the course of daily business life. Yet, while many also want to manage their business in a sustainable and resource-saving way, they often don’t know how, particularly given the often limited time and financial resources available in their small businesses. Others are already doing so, but don’t make the most of it in their customer communication. Others still might ask themselves if in today’s world – in light of the current discussions about lifestyle and de-growth – it is still to start a business and contribute to consumption and growth.
What they all have in common is a considerable interest in a future-oriented and social way of conducting their economic activities. What they lack, however, is exchange, experiences, role models and practice-oriented guidance or manuals.
Procedure and results
(1) The project began with a survey of businesses / female entrepreneurs / organisations which asked about the role played by the principle of care and environmental principles in women’s businesses, as well as how this is put into practice and what is deemed to be missing, or necessary, in terms of support.
(2) The second step involved considering, with the help of typical women’s businesses, a number of questions, including how the principles of care and environment can be better integrated into these businesses, what this involves in practice, which obstacles might exist, and where support is provided.
(3) On this basis, a counselling concept is being developed directed at business women and female entrepreneurs who wish to start or run their business in a fair and environmentally friendly manner. The concept and its applications are to be integrated in the communication of Gründerinnenzentrum (the women’s entrepreneur centre).
(4) The results are then presented and discussed in practice-oriented dialogues. In addition to helping to facilitate a content-related exchange, these dialogues bring together and connect business women, female clients, gender experts and representatives of various women’s associations involved in the project. An initial dialogue on the factors for success and further innovation potential took place on 23.8.2013 in cooperation with the Weiberwirtschaft and compassorange.
(5) Ambassadors (representing both business women/entrepreneurs and their customers) are able to provide information about what is important to them, what their motivation is, and what exactly they do. This was used to create a short video which aims to give life to the concept of a gender equitable green economy. The video is expected to be finished in February 2014 and the premiere is will be integrated in a second practice-oriented dialogue.
(6) Using the results of the survey, the advisory process and an analysis of case-studies, a manual will be developed on an integrated approach to care and environmental perspectives in (small) businesses and start-ups. A further intention of this manual is to provide support to entrepreneurs and businesses beyond the intended main audience (women).
Project duration: 1.3.2013 to 15.02.2015
The project is conducted in cooperation with the women’s entrepreneur centre WeiberWirtschaft eG.