Friday, July 31st, 2020

Women Entrepreneurs in a COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 reality: challenges and recommendations

On the 25th of June, WEgate launched the first-ever WEbarometer survey, designed to take stock of the challenges and needs of Women Entrepreneurs (WEs). The survey is open until the 15th of September, and the results will allow us to understand the impact of COVID-19 on women owned and run businesses, as well as their future funding needs.

We know already [1] that female-led SMEs have been disproportionately affected by COVID being 7 percentage points more likely to have closed in comparison with male-led SMEs.  With women entrepreneurs taking on more of the childcare and home schooling than their male counterparts, their businesses have suffered. Also they are more widely represented in those sectors worst affected by COVID.

Women entrepreneurs need further support now more than ever, we call on all women entrepreneurs and all of those who support them, to join our efforts and to keep on working to ensure that the European Commission proposal for the Recovery Plan :

  • Becomes gender inclusive; and

  • On the other hand, Accurately addresses the obstacles and considers the needs of women entrepreneurs.

Gender responsiveness in public procurement, as well as in access to finance, are yesterday’s, today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. They  will not disappear, but rather be exacerbated, by the post-COVID 19 reality. Both should be better embedded in the European Commission’s Recovery Plan and be better addressed at national level.

Following the recommendations of the Virtual High-Level Roundtable on ‘Gender Equality and COVID-19 Crisis Response and Recovery: The G7’s Role’ organised by the UN Women, the European Union and the International Labour Organisation, we believe it is key to emphasize the need of designing and implementing tailor-made and gender-responsive approaches to reaching women-owned micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, including in supply chains, as well as hard-hit sectors and occupations where women are over-represented. [2]

The solutions to address these challenges include, amongst others: gender-inclusive access to finance policies; reduction of restrictive measures for work; encourage and enable digitalisation of female-owned or lead SMEs; development; and reinforcement of public-private partnerships.

Are you a women entrepreneur? Do you want to become one? Do you know a woman entrepreneur that could benefit from the WEgate initiative? Are you a women entrepreneurship supporter? Join the WEgate community and help us open doors for women entrepreneurs.

[1] Future of Business Survey,

[2] UN Women, Press Release: Gender equality experts recommend key actions for COVID-19 response and recovery for G7 leaders, May 2020