Ladies and Gentlemen Ministers,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Firstly, I would like to thank the Organisers for having chosen this subject for today’s Conference.

This is because, especially in the current context, it can play a key role in bringing about economic recovery as well as social cohesion.  

Indeed, women’s entrepreneurship could become an important advantage for achieving a two-fold growth, social and economic, namely, a bulwark against the economic crisis as well as the key to overcoming it.

In other words, women’s entrepreneurship may function in a twofold way:

On the one hand, as a factor that contributes to emancipation, by addressing gender stereotypes entailing the exclusion of women – besides, let us not forget that “the glass ceiling” limiting women’s rights, continues to exist-, and, on the other hand, as an essential lever for growth, under a new model, focused on innovation and new entrepreneurship, which create jobs.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Female as well as youth entrepreneurship represent a significant and crucial challenge.

For Greece and for Europe.

This is a wager to be won by us all, as a collective body encompassing the public and the private sector, the central government and the LRAs.

In this context, we, the Regions, have a key role to play as an essential lever for growth, in an unclear legal framework and with scarce resources — especially in comparison to our European counterparts -, also bearing the burden of bureaucracy and red tape.

We, therefore, need to innovate, intervene and become competitive in a landscape dominated by outdated growth models, by fostering new forms of entrepreneurship — such as female entrepreneurship – in competitive market conditions, thereby making a difference in favour of women, in favour of young people.

In favour of new forms of entrepreneurship which can highlight new products, new methods, new opportunities, with a sense of social responsibility.

This is a difficult, high-risk challenge, which, nevertheless, reflects our time and its demands.

The Region Attica aspires to respond to this challenge.

In particular, the Region of Attica aims to support women — victims of abuse through actions to help their integration into the labour market. To this end, the Region of Attica launched a co-operation project with three universities (National Technical University of Athens, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences and University of the Aegean), the General Secretariat for Gender Equality, the Research Centre for Gender Equality (KETHI), in the context of a comprehensive proposal to receive funding from the Region of Attica.

At the same time, the Region of Attica seeks to conduct a financial intervention.

In the foreseeable future, the Region of Attica will initiate the process of specialisation of actions under Thematic Objective 3.

In particular, the selection criteria are about to be set, according to which actions are to be chosen in order to assess, prioritise and eventually take measures.

Our planning also includes a broad and open consultation process with stakeholders, businesses and citizens, so that actions promoting entrepreneurship will effectively support economic activity in Attica.

In this same context, female entrepreneurship will be a key pillar for the aforementioned reasons: upgrading the participation of women in economic activity is expected to be positive both for the economy and the social cohesion, currently being tried out.

We want to set in motion a systematic process of removing gender barriers to entrepreneurship by creating appropriate incentives, improving the working as well as the administrative environment for women’s business start-ups.  To this end, we work in close cooperation with relevant stakeholders and associations.

In particular, in the field of women’s entrepreneurship we aspire to develop actions to support entrepreneurial creativity, to balance work and private life, but also to promote women’s career in combination with their social role as well as their participation in local development policies.

Actions resulting from consultation and cooperation between the Region of Attica and stakeholders who wish to contribute to this effort will be aimed at offering effective responses to the needs of women’s entrepreneurship and empowerment of women in society, given that, effective solutions in this area are always drawn from an interdisciplinary approach. In this context we are aiming at:

  • supporting young women’s businesses
  • consolidating women’s entrepreneurship
  • strengthening women social entrepreneurship
  • enhancing the skills of women who seek employment or wish to improve their position in the labour market
  • balancing work and private life

Let me mention, by way of illustration, a number of key actions towards this direction:

  • to create an integrated network of services to support women’s entrepreneurship and self-employment, also including information, training and consultancy.
  • to create women’s business networks in various professions, linking them with transnational networks for the promotion of women’s entrepreneurship.

Our objective is a systematic rather than partial emergence of a new business model, based on Attica’s many advantages, the said model to be characterised by an enhanced presence of women.

In the present context of the country’s efforts to recover economically, the Region of Attica assumes responsibility by doing its share in encouraging women’s entrepreneurship, as it considers it to be a key driver to achieving it, not just a “commitment” for reasons of political correctness.

We will take full advantage of every modern instrument in the process of planning and implementing actions to promote women’s entrepreneurship. To this end, we seek assistance and meaningful participation by all those who consider that strengthening the position of women into the economic activity is the prerequisite for a modern and efficient development strategy. This is Attica’s strategy for today, however, laying the foundations for tomorrow.