3 - Power to female enterprise

We want to encourage more women to take the plunge in setting up their own business. We want North Rhine-Westphalia to be Germany’s leader for female enterprise. By 2025, we also want to increase the proportion of women starting their own business to 33 per cent.

Where we are now

Fewer women than men set up businesses. Depending on which survey results you read, in North Rhine-Westphalia, the proportion of women starting up in business stands between 11 and 29 per cent and, therefore, either at or below the national average. There is one finding common to all studies: women are more cautious than men when it comes to starting up a business and planning, they make less use of external capital and have a greater desire to generate their own profits more quickly. They frequently have a background in social and creative disciplines. Despite the relative reticence of women to start their own business, in principle, many of them are not against the idea of self-employment. Civey, the opinion research institute, estimates that 32 per cent of women are interested in starting their own business.

Where we want to be

We want to encourage more women to take the plunge in setting up their own business. We want North Rhine-Westphalia to be Germany’s leader for female enterprise. By 2025, we also want to increase the proportion of women starting their own business to 33 per cent.

What we are doing

  • We welcome the nationwide initiative for businesswomen, known as Frauen unternehmen, and are working with them to organise event formats in North Rhine-Westphalia, such as speed-dating events, with female entrepreneurs as the role model. We are seeking to develop this cooperation.

  • We want to further encourage support for businesses started by women in the higher education sector, where female business founders are particularly under-represented. As part of the Exzellenz Start-up Center initiative, we are planning to establish a Women Entrepreneurship Center. One of the aims in this context is to develop a nationwide higher education network for female business founders that regularly holds female founders’ summits, female founders’ round tables and female speed-dating events, and that provides advice to prospective female founders from the higher education institutions in North Rhine-Westphalia. We also intend to establish a female incubator programme to support female university spin-offs.

  • We want to establish a women’s mentor network. To do this, we want to use the potential of the start-up grant, known as the Gründerstipendium NRW and Start-up Transfer NRW.

  • In future, we shall ensure that there is an equal number of men and women on the juries for our competitions and for the Gründerstipendium NRW.

  • The NRW.BANK offers specific advice for women starting up in business and supports networks and participants in North Rhine-Westphalia. It holds NRW.BANK seminars for successors and a networking breakfast for businesswomen. Marketing and PR activities, as well as event formats relating to female testimonials, will be expanded.

  • The DWNRW Hubs offer advice and events geared specifically towards women setting up in business. They enjoy successful cooperation with the Female Innovation Hub and the Global Digital Women Initiative.