ASB and Hellenic Open University step in for Women Entrepreneurship! [Video]

In the frame of the Skills Development and Employability Support pillar of the Harmonising Protection Practices in Greece (HARP), ASB prone to build opportunities supporting the integration process, hosted the Hellenic Open University (HOU) Research Group DAISSy – Dynamic Ambient Intelligent Sociotechnical Systems –  professors for an info-session on Women Entrepreneurship in the ASB premises in Ioannina. With the support of DG HOME and in cooperation with IOM.

Athina  Mourtiadou, ASB Head of Office, passionate advocate of women entrepreneurship, warmly welcomed the initiative and stressed how excited she was to support this new opportunity for women who wanted to try and start something on their own.

The participants in turn met the invitation with enthusiasm and great interest, actively listening and asking questions. On the other hand, the researchers handed out a questionnaire to assess needs and participant’s profiles, inaugurating a fruitful  interactive communication path with the women involved in the process.

It is indeed important to “identify and mobilize” women on a project such a as Winbiz –  Women’s Innovative Business Incubation Zone Project – that comprises “languages and skill barriers” said Mr Konstantinos Potsis, Project Manager of the Hellenic Open University DAISSy while introducing Winbiz and Reinser, the latter boosting refugees’ economic integration through social entrepreneurship.

“It is possible through videos and exercises to know the basics so as to acquire a first knowledge on how one can promote and develop entrepreneurial ideas in the social field that also have a substantial social impact” stated Kostas Manztos, researcher at HOU confirming the importance of the social approach. 

As for language barriers, as a first step, ASB Cultural Mediation Officers were omnipresent to explain the questionnaire. Two participants Wahida Hossein Zada from Afghanistan and Khadija Ouadedess from Morocco told us what they wanted to do and where they needed support. “My dream” said Wahida “was to be a doctor or a nurse in the future, because of the situation I couldn’t do that and I couldn’t go to the university but now I am not sad and I’m not disappointed, I am here”. On her part Khadija shared her skills of making bread  “…all kinds of bread […] I am happy that I can do something for a living” adding that her “hope is to be supported through an association or by someone who pushes me and helps me to succeed and puts me on the right path”.

“I think it is very important that participants will be given the way and the practical and emotional support, to really believe in themselves and to implement ideas be it at the level of a business plan, after which we can take these ideas to another level”Associate Prof. Sissie Theodosiou, Social Anthropologist at the University of Ioannina,  researcher in he DAISSy Group,  HOU and co-responsible for the implementation of the REINSER – Refugees economic integration through social entrepreneurship – project, said, adding  “that communities need a more open and expanded future where diversity and multiculturalism will be a very important part of daily life. I think they deserve it because they are a having difficult time“.

But what is also necessary to become a woman entrepreneur? Katerina Tsarpela, President of the Women Cooperative of Epirus – set up in 1998- co-present in the info-session tells us that  “first one must have the will to start doing something, willpower to go ahead and do it with pleasure and patience, one needs a lot of patience”.

Program WINBIZ –  Women’s Innovative Business Incubation Zone Project- aims at the creation of more opportunities to build connections in the community through professional and social integration, improvement of language skills, economic integration and autonomy. The vision of the DAISSy group is to contribute to the realization of an advanced society by inventing/implementing technology that adapts and supports human needs and not the other way round!