On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK), the Federal Agency for Women Start-ups (bga) is currently holding expert hearings for the project " Female Founders Promote Green Economy". Dr. Rubina Zern-Breuer, Head of the Transfer Centre and expert on gender equality and innovation, and Anja Schröder, expert on sustainability and communication - both from the University of Stuttgart, were invited to contribute their expertise to the dialogue.
Angelika Engstler, Head of Department at the BMFSFJ, opened the workshop day with an impulse before Alma Spribille, CEO of WEtell GmbH, presented the Freiburg-based mobile phone start-up and its business model in a keynote speech. As a purpose company, the company owns itself. In addition, WEtell offsets CO2 generated by the provision and use of its offerings through biochar and the construction of solar arrays.
In a first panel round, Afra Gloria Müller from the Social Entrepreneurship Network Germany brought up the challenges of social start-ups: Start-ups that are not designed for rapid growth and exit receive less attention in the VC sphere - in addition to the clearly difficult position that women still have in the search for investors.
Cornelia Klaus, from the Landesfrauenrat Niedersachsen e. V. (Lower Saxony Women's Council) emphasised the need for women not only to be present and visible in networks, working groups and decision-making circles, but also to become issue leaders. Dr. Rubina Zern-Breuer spoke about experimental spaces and the dismantling of structural obstacles - a thread that Iris Kronbitter, bga management team, added to by pointing out that there needs to be a broad understanding (and support) that the deficits lie in the structures and not in the women. If a company is built around a sustainable business model, communication is easier, Anja Schröder pointed out, pointing to another aspect of the success of green start-ups. Consumers are becoming more and more sensitive to green claims and expect not only green advertising messages from sustainable companies, but also an attitude.
Following the panel, questions on potentials and green start-ups for female founders, society and the economy were dealt with in alternating small groups. In a further in-depth discussion, the groups worked on current obstacles and possible solutions and framework conditions to support female founders, especially in setting up sustainable businesses.
The aim of the project is to dovetail the fields of action of gender equality, sustainability and digitalisation for the first time for the promotion and networking of female founders. Female founders in particular see opportunities in ecological economic transformation and develop business models beyond a technology-centred understanding of innovation. New approaches are to be tested in model regions for multipliers and advisory practice by the regional managers of the national agency for female founders (bga).
The project "Female Founders Promote Green Economy" is involved in the GAPS action programme "Equality in the Labour Market. Creating Perspectives" of the BMSFJ and the future action programme on female entrepreneurship of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.