Over the last decade, women have made significant headway in the field of entrepreneurship. Studies show that 49% of all 6900 new one-person businesses in Vienna in 2017 were started by women and around 33% of Austrian companies are led by women. While we’re leaps and bounds ahead of where we were only ten years ago, we still have a long way to go. Women still receive significantly less investment capital to fund their enterprises and must continue to battle stereotypes as they launch and grow their startup.
Thankfully, we’ve begun to see targeted, well-structured support programs for female entrepreneurs popping up in Austria and internationally that help to provide women with the training, support, and network they need to be successful. We put together this list of some of the most relevant resources for women who want to start or grow their businesses:
Women in Business
Women in Business is a contact partner within the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber for female entrepreneurs. They foster networking among female entrepreneurs by arranging lectures and seminars, providing information on current topics and practical advice—for example on how to improve negotiation skills and leadership. They also give support by temporarily offering replacement of the female entrepreneur in case she unable to work in the event of an accident or during maternity leave. You can check their website here.
Female Founders is a platform created and directed by three women with experience in the Austrian startup scene. The organization is dedicated to helping female entrepreneurs connect with their peers while providing mentorship opportunities. They also offer seminars and a “Bootcamp” which is a 10-week program where you will learn how to start or to continue your business with support and lectures from entrepreneurs and highly-motivated business founders. You can check this website here.
Business Professional Women
This is one of the most influential international networks of business and professional women with affiliates in 95 countries across five continents.
The aim of BPW is to enable women to sustain themselves economically. In addition, BPW offers personal development programs for members such as mentoring, leadership training and e-Business training. Their projects aim to protect female rights, help them to overcome their limitations, and create a nurturing environment for development. You can check their website here.
Female Leader Initiative (FELIN)
FELIN is an independent network of women created by female leaders. Their aim is to help highly qualified women in Styria get into leadership positions. FELIN offers targeted activities for companies and organizations. It also features a network that allows women to get in touch with each other. Although only available in German, since they target specifically female entrepreneurs in Styria, it is worth checking out if you’re starting up in the area. Visit their site here.
WINGS is an international project founded in 2014 and co-financed by the European Commission. Their main goal is to unite initiatives undertaken by female entrepreneurs and provide them with a European network for those who want to support or be engaged in female entrepreneurial activities.
WINGS builds effective and efficient female entrepreneurship ecosystems, as well as supporting and integrating sustainable entrepreneurship programs.
It is an excellent tool for women who are planning to start a business and for those who already have one and want to network and meet more people or mentors who can help them develop and grow their venture through events, online courses and more.
Their online platform is very user-friendly and even allows you to create your own personal online shop in easy-to-follow steps. It also contains a vast quantity of mentors around Europe that you can contact for free. We recommend trying their website.
It’s exciting to see the opportunities and success stories of women founders who are being supported through platforms and associations like these. While there is still far to go in terms of how we support and encourage female entrepreneurship, these resources certainly help provide women with key tools they need to help them build a network of support, tap into personal motivation, learn business competencies, and grow their businesses. Know an awesome organization or resource we should add to this list? Let us know by emailing our content lead firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Daniela F. Lazo
Daniela F. Lazo is a Hotel Management and Translation graduate who moved all the way from South America to live in Austria. She loves writing, cats and drinking coffee, in that order.