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Bulletin No. 45


May 2016


The Association of Organisations of Mediterranean Businesswomen (AFAEMME) is a federation of businesswomen associations which was launched in 2002 in Barcelona (Spain). AFAEMME currently comprises 50 women entrepreneur organisations from 24 Mediterranean countries. AFAEMME is a coordinator of European and Mediterranean business and gender projects and ground-breaking research, a networking platform for businesswomen and women entrepreneurs from all over the Mediterranean and a Euro-Mediterranean lobby for strengthening gender equality and facilitating the access of women to decision-making positions in the economy.



Economic Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Promotion for Women and Youth

Last April 28th AFAEMME celebrated, in partnership with the Egyptian Business Women Association (EBWA) and the Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME), one of the annual must-see events for women entrepreneurs and businesswomen from the region: the VIII Mediterranean Women Entrepreneurs Forum which took place in Cairo (Egypt) under the auspices of the 11th African Congress for Women Entrepreneurs & the 4th Cairo Women Empowerment Summit.

As the Mediterranean countries are unfortunately sharing a serious problem of youth unemployment which especially affects young women, this Forum’s edition was focussed on entrepreneurship promotion as a tool for young women’s economic empowerment.

In fact, during the Forum’s opening session, representatives from AFAEMME, EBWA, ASCAME and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) all highlighted their commitment to promote and empower women and youth as a necessary step for achieving economic development in the region.

AFAEMME's "Young Women as Job Creators" project experience and some other activities and programs were shared as best practices of entrepreneurship promotion for youth. And the participating representatives of AFAEMME's member associations also contributed to the debate about the most effective ways of supporting young women in terms of economic empowerment.

More specific data and the outcomes of the event are available in the Conclusions of the VIII Mediterranean Women Entrepreneurs Forum.

Strengthening the network of businesswomen associations

In the framework of the VIII MEDA Women Entrepreneurs Forum, AFAEMME also celebrated its Annual Meeting.

The participating members reviewed the Association's 2015 activity report and debated about upcoming initiatives and possible collaborations.

As the previous Annual Meeting is very recent (November 2015), at this time there were no new membership applications to evaluate.



AFAEMME's "Young Women as Job Creators" project experience was shared as a good example of youth entrepreneurship promotion during the VIII Mediterranean Women Entrepreneurs Forum in Cairo.

This UfM labeled project, funded in its second phase by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Principality of Monaco, motivated and trained more than 1.500 young women university students for entrepreneurship in Albania, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Spain and Tunisia.

The main conclusions of the dialogue which took place between representatives from the participating universities, partnering businesswomen associations; and some young project beneficiaries from Egypt are the following:

  • It is crucial and necessary to introduce an entrepreneurial culture in the universities. Young women need to be aware of the potential of entrepreneurship and be encouraged to overcome the obstacles of an entrepreneurial path.

  • Real and accessible role models have an important role in terms of motivating women towards entrepreneurship. Direct meetings with other young successful women entrepreneurs are far more impactful and encouraging than role models in the media.

  • The family context of the young women directly influences their choices. A supportive familiar environment is key for young women entering the business world.

  • Especially where the quality of education is low, access to specific training which provides the young women with fundamental skills for entrepreneurship is critical.

  • It has to be taken into account that not every young woman is an entrepreneur or should become one. Entrepreneurship can be taught, but not imposed.

ENVISION – Empowering SME business model innovation

AFAEMME is collaborating with the ENVISION project, an EU funded H2020 program aiming at understanding and supporting business model innovation. Business model innovation can accelerate the revenue growth of the small European companies.

In this context, AFAEMME had the opportunity to present to Spanish women entrepreneurs the project’s platform which offers direct and practical tools for SMEs and entrepreneurs. During the I Workshop for Women Entrepreneurs, which took place in the Abat Oliva University on March 31st 2016, AFAEMME outlined each of the sections and instruments/tools of the platform to provide the entrepreneurs with a practical insight.

GLOBAL GIVING – Empowering unemployed women in Spain

AFAEMME’s project “Empowering 20 unemployed women in Spain” takes action against the lack of economic opportunities in Spain by unlocking the potential of educated and talented women who find themselves currently unemployed. The initiative supports them in transforming their ideas into professional business plans and by providing them with business advice and mentoring.

This project is present in the online fundraising platform GlobalGiving.org. And thanks to several donations, six women have already benefited from the program. The businesses which AFAEMME’s mentor is working on together with these women are very diverse: an online health portal, a method to help people with their professional development choices as a service provision, a restaurant. To read more about the specific work with the six participants please visit: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/empower-20-unemployed-spanish-women/reports/


AFAEMME in Tunisia to support the creation of an Economic and Social Committee

AFAEMME's President traveled to Tunis on the 13th and 14th of April, along with the President of the EESC, Mr. Georges Dassis; Mr. José María Zufiaur Narvaiza, President of the Euromediterranean Commission and member of the Workers Group of the EESC; and another French member of the EESC.

The trip took place in the framework of a mission to support the creation of an Economic and Social Committee in Tunisia, an initiative of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet.

Ms. de Felipe and the other mission's participants met the highest representatives of organisations of the Quartet and discussed with them how to design and plan the constitution of an Economic and Social Committee and how this Committee should then function. She also met AFAEMME's Tunisian member association, the Chambre Nationale des Femmes Chefs d'Entreprises (CNFCE), by meeting its President, Ms. Raoudha Ben Saber and the treasurer and Board Member Ms. Cyrine Ben Mlouka.

AFAEMME, part of the UfM meeting of international experts on women’s empowerment

Fifty international experts on gender equality from the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) governments, international organisations and civil society organisations, including AFAEMME, met on 25-26 April at the UfM headquarters in Barcelona to lay the ground for the Ministerial Meeting on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society, planned to take place in the first half of 2017.

AFAEMME is a member of the working groups on women´s participation in economic life and women’s access to leadership and decision-making positions and as such it will contribute to the assessment of the current situation in the region and the provision of specific and relevant recommendations in these areas. The conclusions and results of this work will be presented at the Ad-hoc UfM Senior Officials Meeting on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society during the UfM Conference on Women’s Empowerment, set to take place next 5- 7 October 2016 in Barcelona.

AFAEMME's President chairs the UEAPME Legal Affairs Committee Meeting

AFAEMME's President, as Vice-President of UEAPME and Chair of UEAPME’s Legal Affairs Committee, chaired the UEAPME Legal Affairs Committee which took place on April 4th in Brussels.

Internal market and legal affairs are broad policy areas of vital interest for SMEs, from which stem numerous legislative initiatives that affect European small and medium sized enterprises.

Important points of discussion were the current fitness check of Consumer Law presented by Veronica Manfredi (DG JUST) and the IPR and the upcoming intellectual property SME support introduced by Jean Bergevin (DG GROW). Furthermore, Jurgen Tiedje (DG GROW) was invited to present the Commission’s possible initiative on Service Passport, the upcoming proposal on geo-blocking and the running public consultation on the services notifications initiative. All presentations were followed by internal discussions on the Committee’s future steps.

For more info please contact: afaemme@afaemme.org

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