The launch of “Cafés Oui ou Non” (or “café ja of nee” in Dutch) took place on Thursday evening, courtesy of the Secretary of State for Equal Opportunities, Bianca Debaets, and the network of working women known as Markant. During these events organised in the capital, women are encouraged to discuss entrepreneurship and swap good practice.
“I am about to launch my business in the scientific sphere,” explains one future female entrepreneur venue attending the first so-called “cafe” at the Muntpunt Centre, within the centre of Brussels. “After completing a doctorate at the Free University of Brussels, I have all the necessary paper qualifications, but I am still asking lots of questions as to how best to complete my project.”
“There are loads of opportunities to start up in Brussels,” Bianca Debaets asserts, during her introduction to the debate involving several women who have successfully launched their business. “These women have lots of good commercial ideas, but also many questions. We cannot reduce the risk to zero. However, we are able to support them.”
Generic guidance has also been developed by Markant, to offer coaching for women who envisage setting up, but are hesitant about taking the step. Participants benefit from six months professional coaching.
In Brussels, 28% of entrepreneurs are women,with the corresponding figure for Flanders and Wallonia being 33%, per figures provided by Markant.
“Women are a never-ending source of both inspiration and innovation for society. By promoting feminine entrepreneurship, we are stimulating our economy,” Bianca Debaets observes.
A promotional campaign has been launched, the objective of which is to encourage 10,000 women to participate in the project. Some 65,000 euros have been granted to Markant to drive the initiative.