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The Union for the Mediterranean to promote the business education of 10,000 women

The initiative targets 10,000 young women, studying at university and wanting to start their own business, from Morocco, Palestine, Jordan and Spain. The 'Young Women as Job Creators' project aims to create 400 new businesses. It is an initiative by the Union for the Mediterranean – whose headquarters are based in Barcelona – and the Association of Organisations of Mediterranean Businesswomen (AFAEMME). The project will run from May to November 2013 and it will be based on workshops and courses taught in universities from the four countries involved. The initiative has a budget of €300,000, paid by the Government of Norway, the Catalan multinational Gas Natural Fenosa, the Union for the Mediterranean and the European Investment Bank.

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01 May 2013 12:06 AM

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ACN / Maria Fernández Noguera

Barcelona (ACN).- The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and the Association of Organisations of Mediterranean Businesswomen (AFAEMME) are launching an education project to help women become entrepreneurs in Morocco, Palestine, Jordan and Spain.  The initiative targets 10,000 young women, studying at university, from the four countries involved who want to start their own business. The 'Young Women as Job Creators' project aims to create 400 new businesses. The project will run from May to November 2013 and it will be based on workshops and courses taught in universities from the four countries involved. The initiative has a budget of \u20AC300,000, paid by the Government of Norway, the Catalan multinational Gas Natural Fenosa, the European Investment Bank and the Union for the Mediterranean, which has its headquarters in Barcelona.


85% of the female population in southern Mediterranean countries do not work. In those countries, only 1 out of four young women who are the legal age to work would like to be on the job market. Out of them, 20% are unemployed. These figures have been highlighted by the Catalan Government\u2019s Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Roger Albinyana, at the presentation of the project at the Union for the Mediterranean\u2019s headquarters in Barcelona.

The first UfM project in 3 years

Albinyana celebrated the fact that a project targeting women and promoting entrepreneurship \u201Cis the first project to be launched\u201D by the Secretariat of the UfM. The UfM\u2019s Secretariat was unveiled in the Catalan capital three years ago, at the Pedralbes Palace. However the organisation suffered from paralysis due to the Israel-Palestine conflict, the institutional instability created by the Arab Spring and the lack of economic support from the European Union.

Tunisia will be soon included in the project

During the presentation of the project in Barcelona on Tuesday, the UfM Secretary General, Fathallah Sijilmassi, was confident that in the near future more countries can join the project. According to him, the initiative aims \u201Cto educate and train young women to create their own business\u201D. He also explained that \u201Cthe next step\u201D will be to include Tunisia among the countries were the initiative takes place. The UfM also believes that Egypt and Algeria could join the education project.

Women are discriminated against in the labour market

Meanwhile, the AFAEMME President, Maria Helena de Felipe Lehtonen, reminded that even if at university boys and girls \u201Care seen as equal\u201D, later \u201Cthe labour market segregates them and the market does not absorb half of the women\u201D.

The objective: creating 15 million jobs by 2020

The UfM is working with the objective of creating 15 million jobs in southern and eastern Mediterranean countries between 2010-2020, which means 1.5 million each year. \u201CWe need more projects such as this one to move forward\u201D, emphasised Albinyana. Nowadays, between 26% and 28% of the Mediterranean countries\u2019 population (also counting the European ones) is unemployed, according to data from the World Bank.

15th of May, the Day of Female Entrepreneurship in Barcelona

The project is based on Women Entrepreneurship Days, which are a series of workshops and coaching sessions oriented towards business creation and management. The workshops will be held in universities, in the offices of the participating associations of businesswomen and in the venues of the other organisations involved. The participants who already have a business project in place or a clear idea in mind will have free access to a series of business advice services offered by the associations of businesswomen of the four countries involved: the Association of Businesswomen of Morocco (AFEM), the International Association of Business and Working Women of Ramallah (BPW-RC), the Catalan Association of Business and Executive Women (ACEE) and the Association of Businesswomen of Jordan (JFBPW).

In Spain, the Day of Female Entrepreneurship will be held on the 15th of May in Barcelona. An event will be organised in the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC) in cooperation with the Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP). Besides the private university UIC, the eight public Catalan universities will also participate in the event (the URV, the UAB, the UB, the UdG, the UdL, the UPC, the UPF and the UOC).

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  • The presentation of the project at the Union for the Mediterranean's headquarters, in Barcelona (by M. Fernández Noguera)

  • The presentation of the project at the Union for the Mediterranean's headquarters, in Barcelona (by M. Fernández Noguera)