We are excited and proud to share our first FEMINA Policy Improvement, achieved by Arezzo Innovazione and Arezzo-Siena Chamber of Commerce!
What has been improved?
The Arezzo-Siena Chamber of Commerce, and their Committee for Female Entrepreneurship (IFE), financed a new project entitled ‘INVENTOR LAB’, using budget allocated within their strategic Multiannual Programme. The project is designed to support the development of female entrepreneurship, particularly female start-ups in high-tech/ICT sectors.
INVENTOR LAB is structured around a hackathon contest, where ideas for innovative business projects are developed by female students. The most promising ones are selected by an evaluation committee and two winning ideas are awarded prize money for initial business actions.
How did FEMINA inspire it?
INVENTOR LAB was born thanks to inspiration from local and interregional exchange, within FEMINA.
Good practices that provided inspiration are:
• Everygirl Everywhere (RO), which encourages girls and women to enter the digital workforce. Their many actions include hackathons, positively evaluated as providing experience and know-how to succeed in digital.
• Regional Committee for Gender Equality (EL), supporting and monitoring integration of the gender dimension into Sterea Ellada’s development strategies. The exchange showed how such committees can support activities like hackathons if promoted by a network of actors with complementary skills.
• STEM TALENT GIRL (ES) encourages female students to start careers in STEM, through mentoring / job shadowing initiatives. It includes talent scouting activities, to select the most promising candidates to take part in the program, which INVENTOR LAB uses to evaluate hackathon results.
How exactly did this new project come about?
The FEMINA Local Stakeholder Group shared interregional input and results from an analysis of barriers and enablers to female participation in high-tech companies, during a number of meetings in 2018 and 2019. In September 2019, they decided to launch the INVENTOR LAB project and allocated funding to one initial round. The INVENTOR LAB call for Hackathon participants was launched in December 2019 and closed in January 2020. 5 teams (all made up of women) applied for the hackathon, which took place in February 2020.
What comes next?
Our partners have now started monitoring results from the first edition of INVENTOR LAB and they hope to further develop this project. Ideally, if initial results were positive, they could replicate the hackathon (even with more resources) and make it an annual feature of their work.
Keep following FEMINA here and on our social media to find out. In the meantime, a huge CONGRATULATIONS to our Italian partners, and here’s to many more initiatives like this!