Academy for Women Entrepreneurs

Category: Alibaba News Academy for Women Entrepreneurs have announced the launch of its Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in Europe, in a bid to champion gender equality in business and advance female entrepreneurship.

The launch of the academy follows a recent survey which uncovers the hurdles faced by female entrepreneurs, with 94% citing societal expectations and gender stereotypes as significant barriers to business leadership, and nearly 60% highlighting gender as the reason for business failure.

According to the Europe-wide survey of female entrepreneurs, commissioned by, nearly two thirds (63%) of respondents have encountered challenges where gender has been perceived as a disadvantage, and over a third (36%) believe there is insufficient representation of women in SMEs across the European Union.

However, more encouragingly, the survey found that companies with fewer employees and lower turnover are less likely to perceive gender as a barrier to entrepreneurial success and have encountered fewer instances of gender-based obstacles in the workplace.

Less than half of SMEs (48% of those with 1-9 employees and 41% with turnover under £85,500) believe gender is a contributing factor to entrepreneurial failure, compared to larger companies where this belief is more prevalent (82% of companies with 250-500 employees and 63% of companies with turnover between £85.5-427.5 million.

This suggests SMEs foster a more gender-diverse work environment, and could take a leading role when it comes to promoting gender equality more broadly across the business landscape.

About the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs Programme

To address these disparities, has established the AWE initiative, an advanced educational training, mentoring, and networking programme aimed at female business owners or co-owners.
Over a 10-week period, participants will have the opportunity to engage with a dynamic community of like-minded industry leaders, investors, mentors, and organisations working for increased gender equality in decision-making, such as European Women on Boards, Women&Tech ETS networks, European PayTech Nexi and Visable, operator of B2B marketplace Europages, as well as testimonials from small business owners. Through this interaction, they will acquire invaluable insights and establish strategic partnerships to unlock pathways to success and growth.

Participants will delve into modules covering leadership, negotiation, strategy, business and financial models, funding, communications, and more. In 2024, the Academy will welcome forty female-led companies from across Europe.

By giving women entrepreneurs the tools and knowledge to empower themselves, we believe that we can ultimately contribute to a more inclusive and prosperous global economy. With the launch of the AWE initiative, our aim is to draw upon our two decades of experience in enabling global trade and provide participants with the necessary support, resources, and networking opportunities to thrive in today’s competitive landscape, overcoming gender-related obstacles. We are looking forward to connecting with all the entrepreneurs that will join us in this exciting journey of learning and growth.

– Michela Rubegni, Marketing Director, Europe,

According to’s analysis, female entrepreneurs consider educational initiatives targeting both businesses and schools as paramount for fostering diversity within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, alongside the increase in funding opportunities. Additionally, the top three strategies identified for enhancing the representation of female entrepreneurs in traditionally male-dominated sectors include: increased visibility of female entrepreneurs in the media (44%), establishment of support groups facilitating collaborative problem-solving among female entrepreneurs (42%), and advocacy for gender equality (41%).

Applications for AWE 2024 are now open until 28 June 2024 and program activities are scheduled to commence in the fall. To learn about eligibility requirements and submit an application, aspiring candidates can visit the official AWE website.


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