Entrepreneurship Training, London, 9-15 January, 2018
Author: Natalia Skoczylas
24 women, seven days, south of London. An intercultural meeting combined with an entrepreneurial workshop prepared by Ubele Initiative (Londyn) i Human Rights Youth Organisation (Palermo), Fundacja Autokreacja (Warsaw), Yenimahalle Belediyesi (Ankara).
It was an unforgettable week. I will never forget tired legs, wonderful views, inspiring meetings and a great energy that a group of women generates when they share a space for a week. I’ve never been part of a project that is so dominated by female participation – and I loved the dynamic. The feeling of responsibility for the home we lived in, belonging to the group, collective decision making, community. It was different than in regular mixed groups. Definitely less power dynamic 😉
The topic of the meeting was very close to me at the point of my life – female entrepreneurship is one of the ways in which we can deal with exclusion and economic stagnation. Our participation in the market provides a solution to out limited access to it and better wages offered for female work. It could also transform it for better. I think women have a more natural feeling for social aspects of the business – and our disruption would look very different to the famous Silicon Valley trend. There will be less exclusion, monopolies, underpaid contracts, racism and environmental damage. There will be more responsibility and community involved.
During the workshop we had a chance to discuss entrepreneurship with a very interesting group of female participants from the UK, who face both the gender and race stereotypes, as women of color born in England. Also our trip to Pop Brixton, despite the fact it was led by two males, was super informative. We’ve learned about ways in which the city of London tries to replace their regular urban development (sell the land to developers, build a hyper expensive property for the white, upper middle class members) with a bit more experimental approach. In case of Pop Brixton, they allowed a more mixed group to use the space for more experimental and small businesses, which turned out to be very profitable and have a quite positive impact on their neighbourhood. Of course, there’s a lot gentrification going on thanks to them, and the businesses are not really that social – yet, it’s an interesting example and probably a better usage of the space.
What did other women feel about the workshop?
Elsie, UK: I’m really grateful for the opportunity to have joined this project. Meeting everyone and learning about all the budding projects has been awesome. I learned some valuable lessons and hope to grow more with those in my locality.
Rosi, Italy: I have 4 kids and I’ve always been a mother. Making this experience now, at this age, has been even more constructive for me, because I am more mature and aware now, and I can share this awareness with my teen agers kids. So that they, trough myself, may see a world that is difficult to be seen by who is “blind”. Sharing social experience has opened my eyes, and it was so important also share all of this with women coming from other countries. I was “obliged” to have relationships in an unknown language and I am so happy that I made it successfully! Thanks so much to everyone ❤
Lucyna, Warsaw: Women are mostly seen as home makers, mother and wives, which makes it difficult for them to take initiative and start their own businesses. In London I saw how important it is to support and promote female entrepreneurship. It improves their self esteem, and in case of Pop Up Shop we visited and crafts they work on, showcases their imagination, cooperation and empathy.
Kasia, Warsaw: I’ve learned a new term, gentrification, and negative and positive effects it has on the city. Change is the essence of the progress, which means transformation of how things used to be. The way we saw it unwinded in Brixton, transforming the neighbourhood from dangerous and evaded, to hip and not-to-miss, reminded me the changes that happened in Warsaw in Prague, which went through a very similar process in the past years.
Ania, Wrocław: I also realised the transportation system is not as scary as it seemed, and the people around us are actually very similar to what I know. I was pretty frightened by this trip at first – now I could take people around London! I also decided to learn English and read English books. Oh, and I charged my batteries for my daily work with men 🙂
This training was organised in the frame of “Pandora – Discovering European opportunities for Female Entrepreneurship” project.This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.