Guide: providing support to women entrepreneurs
With support from local government, Guide provides a specialised service to a growing population of female entrepreneurs in the city of Munich.
Launched in 2005 by GründerRegio M, a non-profit organisation that promotes entrepreneurship in Munich and the surrounding region, Guide provides training, advice, counselling and networking opportunities to female entrepreneurs. It supports women in planning and establishing their own service sector business, women who are returning to the labour market after raising a family and women who may encounter problems finding employment. Women can access consulting services and explore if entrepreneurship is the right option for them. Guide’s services are tailored to the client’s specific needs and unique personal situation such as their employment history, health issues, family commitments and their individual aims and interests. Guide regularly organises seminars, workshops and networking events where women can share their knowledge, experience and expertise.
This case study was adapted from an article on Apolitical, the global network for public servants, found here: https://apolitical.co/solution_article/munich-teaches-women-how-to-run-a-startup-while-having-a-family/
Background and objectives
Starting your own business while taking care of a family and home is time consuming, and is one of the reasons that women – who in Germany do 60% more unpaid work than men – are under represented among entrepreneurs and startup founders around the world. Female entrepreneurs encounter specific problems when starting up their own businesses such as raising investment capital, accessing trade networks and juggling work and family. Globally, less than one in five startups have a female founder: the percentage of women-founded venture-backed companies has remained at 17% since 2012.
Over the last five years, Munich has established itself as a tech and entrepreneurial hub, but just 9%of founding teams of startups in the city include women. In general, the majority of Germany’s business-owners are male, and German businesses owned by women tend to be smaller than those created by men.
The objective of Guide is to offer services that are tailored to the client’s specific needs and unique personal situation such as their employment history, health issues, family commitments and their individual aims and interests. This integrated approach includes a realistic look at how setting up a business will impact on the entrepreneurs’ life.
Guide is a project that accompanies female entrepreneurs as they move toward self-employment. Before they book their first individual appointment, clients attend an information morning where the process is explained in detail.
This first module is called “Guide Start”. It includes assessment and analysis of the participants’ needs, goals and visions for the realization of their entrepreneurship project. During this first session, female participants are supported in order to choose the right module(s) corresponding to their needs.
The Guide concept includes five different modules:
- Guide Pur: this module combines group coaching and individual coaching. The group is moderated by women start-up consultants and deals with the different topics around the foundation of a new business.
- Guide Profile: the module starts with a competence assessment for female entrepreneurs. The participants set their milestones and present intermediate steps to the other participants who formulate feedback and give advice.
- Guide Flex: in this module, participants can choose a flexible course and workshop program according to their individual needs. They are combined with individual consultation hours.
- Guide Kompakt: is a compact course on the topic “from idea to concept”. (8 seminar days)
- Guide Kompakt+: is a compact course on the topic “from concept to customer” (6 seminar days)
The consultancy sessions are free and theoretically unlimited, although homework must be completed between sessions and waiting lists are common.
Guide also runs regular seminars and workshops on topics ranging from self-confidence in negotiations to taxes and financial planning.
Guide network includes meeting with lectures and mentors to strengthen, motivate and build networks.
Financing and resources
Guide is mainly funded by the Bavarian state ministry of labour and social welfare, family affairs and women, the European Social Fund (45%) and the city of Munich’s department of labour and economic development (41%). The remaining 14% comes from its own funds, generated from giving speeches, writing evaluations and fees for workshops.
From 2008-2015, the European Social Fund contributed €600,000 ($740,000 US) out of a total budget of €1.4million ($1.7million US).
Results and impacts
Guide has assisted almost 5000 female entrepreneur - the free consulting and coaching services are in particularly high demand and appointments with the business advisers are booked well in advance.
Approximately 60% of guide’s clients successfully started their own business during the consulting process. Another 30% are planning and organising their next steps towards sustainable self-employment.
A community of female entrepreneurs has developed, facilitating the exchange of experience and improving the business survival rates and growth perspectives of the newly founded companies.
Barriers and challenges
Guide has been the recipient of major European and local government funding, enabling the project to thrive. In order to carry its mission forward, continued financial support is crucial to the project.