3 July 2015
VRP Hill+Knowlton Strategies on behalf of Enterprise Lithuania conducted a project ‘Smart Woman’ to promote entrepreneurship among women. The project was highly popular and exceeded all targets. Despite the fact that women account for only one-third of all the employers, their activity in this project showed that they have desire, potential and, after receiving help and guidelines, can create and manage businesses.
2,648 women attended 36 events in Kaunas, Klaipėda and Šiauliai, which took place in March-June, 2015, 7611 unique users watched live online events, project participants developed 50 concepts of business ideas, and 19 of them presented them to investors in the finals of the project.
Women in Lithuania still rarely set up their own businesses. In 2012 they accounted for only 31 percent of employers. Out of all working women in Lithuania only 9 percent are self-employed, i.e. are employers or conduct individual activity under a business certificate.
There are various groups of women in Lithuania for whom, due to various reasons, it is difficult to enter or return to the labor market, to maintain or improve their qualification. According to the data from the Department of the Statistics, a lot of women belong to those groups: about 35 thousand of them annually go on maternity leave and 63 thousand women are housewives.
Enterprise Lithuania decided to improve this situation by initiating events to promote entrepreneurship among women. VRP Hill + Knowlton Strategies, which won the public tender, proposed the concept of the project ‘Smart Woman’, which was already tested two years ago. The project distinguishes from other entrepreneurship events, as a special attention is given to women with children, the events combine theory with practice, and women who develop businesses have the opportunity to consult with mentors individually.
The following targets were set: to organize 12 events in Kaunas, Klaipėda and Šiauliai, which must be visited by 1500 women altogether, live broadcasts must be watched by 1000 unique users and 30 business ideas concepts should be developed. Tactical challenge of the project was not only to invite women to participate, but also to maintain their interest for 12 weeks, while strategic challenge was to achieve that real businesses would be set up.
The planning of project activities was based on the following guidelines: to motivate and involve, organize in the way that it would comply with needs of women and create conditions for them to achieve results. In order to attract women, Facebook and other online media were used, as well as the local media in Kaunas, Klaipeda and Siauliai.
The events were connected into a coherent cycle of business-development topics. They were combined with each other by homework which were assigned by guest speakers before their presentations in the events. Women, who have developed their business, shared their own success stories and inspired other participants. Highly experienced experts in their fields as well as professional lectors were invited as guest speakers for the events. Theoretical parts were combined with practical tasks during which women were working together and became better acquainted with each other, established business contacts and eventually became a community which is active even after the project.
Women, who were unable to attend, could watch the events live on the Internet. During all events professional children care was provided, so that those women, who did not have anyone to look after their children while they were away, were able to participate too.
The important part of the project was individual consultations with experienced mentors with whom the participants developed their concepts of business ideas.
The project ended with the final event, during which the best prepared women within 3 minutes presented their ideas to investors.
- Over 1400 women from all over Lithuania, as well as foreign countries, registered for the project.
- 2,648 women attended the events – almost twice more than the set target.
- Live broadcasts of the events were watched by 7611 viewers – almost 8 times more that the set target.
- Quality concepts of business ideas were developed by 50 women – almost twice more than the set target.
- 19 selected women from all over Lithuania introduced themselves to investors – including remote participants of the projects who watched the events online.
- In Kaunas, Klaipėda and Šiauliai enterprising women’s community were born, which are active even after the end of the project.