Ukrainian women in Estonia take part in 2-month business mentoring program

"The Empowering Women Entrepreneurship Programme." Source: ERR's ETV+

The Estonian Refugee Council (Eesti Pagulisabi) has organized a series of business masterclasses, "The Empowering Women Entrepreneurship Programme," for Ukrainian women living in Estonia and Ukraine.

"The Empowering Women Entrepreneurship Programme" is developed for Ukrainian women who are willing to bring their micro-enterprise idea to life.

About 50 candidates from all over Estonia participated in the two-week workshop, which started on October 30, where they established their company concept, strategy and product or service's initial design. The activities took place both offline and online.

On November 12 the jury selected top 20 business idea owners who will now participate in a two-month mentoring program to launch their own businesses in Estonia.

Eugenia arrived in Estonia from the Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih. She now lives in Pärnu. Her business initiative "Siil" (Hedgehog) is a comfy hair salon for children. Eugenia has an active child and there was a similar salon in her hometown; however, such hairdressing salons are not common in Estonia.

"It is difficult to find a space for a child where they can have a relaxed, peaceful haircut in a quiet environment where no one distracts them: neither other people nor smells," Yevgeniya explained about her concept to "AK."

Veronica and Valeria are two sisters from a small town in the Donetsk region, who are launching the "Whiterose" project. They have started recently an internet store where they sell special bouquets, or "wow-bouquets" as they call them.

"We need help figuring out how to conquer this market so that we can truly become one of the top, and for that we need genuine, sensible advise from the mentors here. Some of them we've previously met, and they're so motivating that it makes you want to work and work," the sisters said.

Mentoring sessions, professional consultations, operating a business in the digital e-Estonia environment and applying for startup funds are some of the activities that will help female entrepreneurs in gaining their first clients and sales.
All of these activities are supported by experienced business owners from the Estonian entrepreneurial landscape.

The majority of the submitted ideas were int he filed of catering, education, mental health, cosmetic services and crafts, Maarika Truu, the program's chief mentor, said.

"Many business ideas came from women who have been engaged in the same activity for years and now wish to turn it into their own business," she added.

At the conclusion of the program, the authors of the top five projects will each get €1,000, as well as laptops and preferential access to business facilities.  

The analogous program is also taking place online for women who are currently residing in Ukraine and have lost the means to provide income for their family due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. More information could be find here.

Both individuals and teams of women with new micro- and family business ideas or already existing businesses are eligible for participation. Two separate programs are taking place: one for new businesses and one for existing ones.

"The Empowering Women Entrepreneurship Programme" is funded by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs from development cooperation funds.

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Editor: Kristina Kersa

Source: ERR Russian

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