FREE: Empowering, Encouraging and Supporting Fempreneurs in Rural Areas

The main objective of the FREE  project is to assist women from rural areas in 5 partner countries (Iceland, UK, Lithuania, Croatia and Bulgaria) to become successful entrepreneurs with a focus on small business development. The main target group is women with a concrete business idea or currently running a newly established company.

An increasing number of women in rural areas are interested in starting their own business  but they still face some obstacles such as lack of finance, training and networking.  Project FREE (full name: Female Rural Enterprise Empowerment) aims to overcome those obstacles and   provide support and practical instruments to empower, encourage  women entrepreneurs.

The main project aims are to strengthening the skills and competences of the target group, to help them grow their network, encouraging creativity and start-ups.

An important part of the project is   an online training programme for women, focusing on hard skills which will be supported by the development of Enterprise Circles™ that are based on an existing methodology from one of the project partners   in the UK.
A Facilitators Guide will be produced, providing guidelines for the trainers and how they can deliver the methodology in the best way. Networks for women in rural areas will be set up, led by local women who will receive training in the methodology of “Community Driven Learning and Development”. Also, a “Guide for Policy Makers” will be produced, where recommendations regarding support for women in rural areas will be outlined.

All the partners involved are experienced in working with women entrepreneurs in rural areas, with qualified staff and extensive networks for dissemination. Based on their knowledge and expertise of the needs of women in their countries, partners will work with groups from already defined rural areas close to them. The project will start with an extensive research across all partner countries, including focus groups, desk research and online surveys.

For those women who are thinking about starting up a business: don't stop dreaming, begin to put some action and dreams may lead you to a real life success! For some inspiration, upcoming project events, possibilities to join the training follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and visit our website: we are here to make your journey as smooth as   possible.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


Project number: 2015-1-IS01-KA204-013171

Project partners:
Directorate of Labour, Iceland
Icelandic Regional Development Institute, Iceland
Inova, UK
Wire, UK
Kaunas STP, Lithuania
CESI, Croatia
ABICC - Sandanski, Bulgaria


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