Women’s entrepreneurship in the Baltic Sea Region

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Women’s entrepreneurship in the Baltic Sea Region represents an unexploited potential.

Per Møller, CEO of Ernst and Young Denmark

Only 32 percent of the entrepreneurs are women and opportunities are wasted at a time when sustainable economic growth figures high on the agenda of all governments in Europe. In general, entrepreneurship is seen as a key driver for economic success but few coordinated initiatives are target towards women.

This is one of the main conclusions in the report National and Cross-national Policies on Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Baltic Sea Region – a Comparative Perspective which has been carried out by Baltic Development Forum (Christin Skiera). The report is sponsored by the Danish Enterprise and Construction Authority.

Per Møller, CEO of Ernst and Young Denmark, welcomes the report and he sees the Baltic Sea Region as an interesting pilot area for promoting female entrepreneurs.

“Role models and access to business-building networks are critical for successful women’s entrepreneurship”, – says Per Møller of Ernst & Young who globally are making efforts to unleashing the potential of entrepreneurs.

“Ernst & Young wants to promote women’s entrepreneurship, also through the Entrepreneur of the Year Award held in more than 140 cities and 50 countries around the world. Globally, only three out of ten entrepreneurs are women”. This year’s global award winner was Olivia Lum CEO of Hyflux which has become the first water treatment company to be registered on the Singapore stock exchange. “Hopefully, she can become a role model for women entrepreneurs”, Per Møller underlines.

Download the Report.

The report finds that the countries around the Baltic Sea as well as Norway and Iceland are using very different policy instruments and projects in order to increase the number of women entrepreneurs. Few countries have adopted a clear policy to encourage and facilitate women to start their own business or to become more ambitious. Generally, women are under-represented in high growth sectors and they have fewer employees than men.

The Action Plan of EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region has identified women’s entrepreneurship as “strategic action” area of cooperation but much more targeted work needs to be done. The report finds that the conditions for exchange of best practice are perfect, since there is room for improvement through cross-border cooperation and since no one in the region has come close to finding the DNA-code for entrepreneurship or businesswomen. Not least in the Nordic countries, who have fewer entrepreneurs than the rest of the Baltic Sea Region, need to find new inspiration.

BDF Contact Person: Katarina Tafvelin, Head of Communication and Media, ktn@bdforum.org

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