The She Entrepreneurs programme is leadership training within the context of working for an equal and sustainable society using entrepreneurial principles. It is based on real business experiences and collaborative learning.
Participants will learn in group from both experts within the field and from each other. She Entrepreneurs consists of seminars, workshops and interactive learning methods mixed with reflection sessions, team-building and practical exercises. Facilitators and expert mentors are available for guidance. There are also study visits and meetings with inspiring social entrepreneurs.
She Entrepreneurs is an initiative from the Swedish Institute (SI), a public agency that promotes interest and confidence in Sweden around the world. Swedish values and experiences include creating a sustainable and equal society globally. Sweden is a reputed innovation leader and gender equality role model.
A network of women entrepreneurs
The overarching purpose of She Entrepreneurs is to support young women social entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and Sweden and allow them to emerge with a strong and active network of likeminded women who support each other in driving important changes in society.
A social enterprise has the potential to change the world for the better. Adding new skills and innovative tools to the personal drive and unique capabilities of a social entrepreneur increases the impact of any social business.
Personal and professional development
At the heart of the programme is also personal and professional development. Participants will learn to think like entrepreneurs – from generating ideas to executing a strategic and sustainable business model.
The programme will help increase participants’ knowledge on topics such as social entrepreneurship, business development, communication, branding, sales, finance and funding. It delivers the tools and opportunity to develop social initiatives and business plans.
She Entrepreneurs also gives the participants individual feedback on their social business initiatives from leading social and business entrepreneurs and group mentors in Sweden and MENA. The feedback gives them a chance to rethink and fine-tune ideas. It also places participants right in the middle of an active network of young emerging women social entrepreneurs who support each other.
Participants will learn through seminars, workshops and interactive learning methods mixed with reflection sessions, team-building and practical exercises. Facilitators and expert mentors are available for guidance. There are also study visits and meetings with inspiring social entrepreneurs.
Exchanging knowledge and inspiration with each other is central to the programme, as is finding common solutions to global challenges.
What is a social entrepreneur?
A social entrepreneur addresses a social challenge and strives for positive change through an initiative based on entrepreneurial principles. A social business, as opposed to a non-profit organisation, almost always has income-generating activities – even while social change is more valued than profit.
If you are a social entrepreneur, you know how to turn ideas into action, and you want to understand how to develop your business to make it more effective at creating value for society and generate money.
She Entrepreneurs is intended for women who have already started to build a social business. It is not enough to dream of social change; one must also find it exciting to take risks to accomplish that change.
SI has produced a handbook on social entrepreneurship specifically for participants of She Entrepreneurs. The book – Toolbox for the social business – is available for free online.
A programme for women
Many women entrepreneurs face unnecessary and made-up obstacles because of their gender. She Entrepreneurs wants to capitalise on these women’s capacities of bringing solutions to many of society’s major challenges.
The programme was started in 2011 to create a platform for women entrepreneurs to exchange experiences, empower and inspire each other. Women participating in all aspects of society – including in the world of business entrepreneurship – is undeniably of great benefit to everyone in society.
The programme is made up of two and a half weeks divided into two modules at separate times. Module one is ten days long and always takes place in Sweden. In between the modules, the participants work on their own initiatives locally, coached by group mentors over digital platforms.
Module two is for one week and takes place in Sweden or in the MENA region. The programme is in English. All costs related to accommodation, food and transport during She Entrepreneurs are covered by the Swedish Institute.
In Sweden, 27 March – 7 April 2017
During the first module, participants will get the opportunity to further develop a social business initiative that they have started on. The module starts off with lectures and exercises centred on personal leadership, values and motivations, reflection and team-building. After the first couple of days, focus will shift to provide participants with the necessary knowledge base and tools that strengthen their social entrepreneurship and business skills, as well as the development of their social business initiative.
Workshops and lectures on topics related to running a business in general and a social enterprise in particular will be intertwined with coaching in smaller groups from experienced mentors. Themes will revolve around for example budgeting, funding, marketing and communication strategies as well as on how to measure social impact and how to arrive at an appropriate business model. There will also be visits and network opportunities with established Swedish entrepreneurs and organisations.
Throughout the module – and indeed the programme – there will be continuous opportunities to make lasting connections to other women entrepreneurs. The programme and its participants place high value on the ability to learn from, support and inspire other women, and to exchange experiences and discuss common challenges.
The module is set up with a highly practical approach that allows each participant to apply the lessons directly to her business initiative. At the end of Module 1, each participant will present her social business initiative to an advisory board consisting of senior entrepreneurs and business advisors.
All parts of the programme will be led by facilitators and leading social and business entrepreneurs working actively in their respective field. Programme coaches will also follow up with participants in between the two modules.
Location to be confirmed, 16–22 September 2017
The second and final module takes place a few months after the end of module 1, after participants have had time to start implementing the lessons from the first module into their business. It will take place in North Africa or the Middle East, or sometimes again in Sweden.
Before the start of the second module, participants will have worked on their own initiative locally, coached by group mentors over digital platforms. The focus during module 2 will be to maintain, build and expand the network, to continue the learning journey and follow up the development of the work so far.
Participants will continue to build on their entrepreneurial skills through workshops, seminars and meetings with mentors. Just as the first module, this one is based on the sharing of the participants’ own experiences and knowledge.
Please note that She Entrepreneurs is an intensive programme and all selected participants will have to commit to participating in all activities of both module 1 and 2.
Accomodation, food and travel costs covered
All costs related to accommodation, food and transport during She Entrepreneurs are covered by the Swedish Institute. SI will pay for air travel to and from Sweden and to the location of the second module of the programme. Participants themselves are responsible for costs related to transport within their own countries. Swedish participants are expected to stay at the same hotel(s) as the MENA participants during the first module in Sweden.
During the programme in Sweden, all participants from the Middle East and North Africa will be insured against acute illness and accident through the Swedish State Group Insurance and personal insurance by the Swedish Legal, Financial and Administrative Service Agency (Kammarkollegiet).
In case the second module takes place somewhere in the MENA region, all participants are kindly requested to purchase a travel insurance covering the period of the module in their respective home countries. The Swedish Institute will reimburse participants for the cost of the insurance later.
Applying for a visa
Selected participants are responsible for obtaining their visas in good time before departure to Sweden and other relevant countries. The Swedish Institute will contact all concerned embassies and inform them about the programme and the participants in order to facilitate the application process.
When applying for a visa, SI will provide the participants with a letter of invitation and an insurance certificate, and will also cover the application cost. Selected participants will receive more information about how to arrange a visa for the first module in Sweden shortly after having been accepted to the programme.
Kindly note that it is the concerned embassies that assess all visa applications; SI can never guarantee that all of our selected participants will obtain visas. In recent years, applicants living in conflict-ridden areas have in a few cases seen their visa applications rejected.