Female sponsorship: for a social entrepreneurship run by women!
The proportion of female entrepreneurs in the French economic landscape remains desperately small: only between 26% to 32% of the companies set up in France are created by women. And the situation is no better in the area of social entrepreneurship: at the end of 2014, only 28% of the entrepreneurs belonging to the Mouvement des entrepreneurs sociaux (Social Entrepreneurs Movement, or Mouves) were women.
Female entrepreneurs often face obstacles specific to their sex: the organization of their professional, social and family time, the impact of stereotypes and prejudices, etc. They also sometimes lack experience and access to networks, two resources that are frequently more important that academic qualifications and have a major impact on a project’s initial success and sustainability.
Starting from the observation that there still remains room for improvement, Mouves and its partner Crédit Coopératif are determined to change this situation by encouraging women to set up their own companies.
How? By allowing female entrepreneurs to benefit from the mentoring of experienced female entrepreneurs through a “female sponsorship” program.
The principle? An experienced woman entrepreneur volunteers to support a young female business creator with a view to sharing her expertise. Based on the principles of sharing, listening and understanding, this system allows the “female mentor-sponsor to give a new impetus to her own company.” Corine, a sponsor working with the program, confirms this observation: “I received from this experience as much as I gave; it’s a real exchange.”
Building on the success of the program launched in the Midi-Pyrénées region in 2014 by Mouves and Egalitère (a social cooperative dedicated to women's entrepreneurship and professional equality), this scheme was renewed in Île-de-France in 2015 and 2016 with 6 new pairs of mentors and mentees.