18 February 2022 | Münster
A pioneering European initiative, "RestART Europe-Mentoring Second-Chance Female Entrepreneurs to Restart the European Arts and Creative Sector", led by the Science-to-Business Marketing Research Centre at the FH Münster University of Applied Sciences brings together five partners from four countries. The project is funded by the ERASMUS+ Cooperation partnerships in adult education programme for a three-year timeframe, RestART Europe partners have ambitious plans to become pioneers in offering a mentoring program that seeks to train mentors to provide guidance, motivation, and role modelling to second-chance female entrepreneurs and equip them with the entrepreneurial skills in the arts and creative sector.
The project kicked off on February 18th, 2022, and the meeting was organised by Iulia Stroila (PhDc), Elina Isakova and Jun.-Prof. Dr. Sue Rossano-Rivero. The RestART Europe is a forward-thinking European initiative with a team of partners, led by Science-to Business Marketing Research Centre from the FH Münster University of Applied Sciences(Germany), with University of Naples Federico II (Italy), Lusofona University (Portugal), Friesland College (the Netherlands), and Accreditation Council for Entrepreneurial and Engaged Universities (Germany), passionate about supporting female entrepreneurship and mentorship in the arts and creative sector.
The Europe 2020 strategy and recent policy measures aim to expand entrepreneurship in each EU Member State (e.g., The Missing Entrepreneurs, 2019). Europe has taken the path to strengthen entrepreneurial culture and networks by assembling strategies and actions to enable everyone to start a successful and sustainable business, despite their gender, age, place of birth, or other personal characteristics. However, the field of entrepreneurship remains strongly male-dominated, and women's entrepreneurial potential is still underutilised.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has put immense pressure on the arts and creative industries, entrepreneurs suffered significant losses, and many ventures have been affected or had to close. These adverse shocks have revealed the pre-existing volatility of the arts and creative industries and magnified the gender inequality in entrepreneurship. Due to the uncertainty created by the pandemic, female entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative sectors have been impacted disproportionately, namely their income, access to social security, freedom of movement, and artistic creation (OECD, 2021).
Although the second chance policies in Europe are an excellent instrument to give some peace of mind to entrepreneurs to start again after a failure, they only focus on the legal and economic parts. Moreover, many of these policies aim to "produce" more entrepreneurs and not so much on the need to preserve the stock of entrepreneurs. For this reason, an excellent second chance policy is essential to send the message that entrepreneurship cannot end up as a "life sentence" if things go wrong (European Commission, 2020). The failure of a venture should not be seen as the end of an entrepreneurial journey. While adverse psychological reactions to failure, such as grief or anxiety, research suggests that entrepreneurs can learn from failure, developing more mature entrepreneurial skills that can lead to personal growth and enhance the success of future ventures.
RestART Europe aims to identify and understand the critical challenges and opportunities women face in starting a new business for the second time in the arts and creative industry and develop mentoring schemes accordingly to facilitate confidence-building and empowerment. The consortium will deliver four intellectual outputs, namely:
- The State Of R-Art Analysis Report: to understand the status quo, needs, desires and skills needed from female entrepreneurs who seek a second chance after business failure.
- The Online Platform Ment-Net and Mentoring Scope: to leverage the necessary online resources for adequate interaction and exchange between mentors and second-chance female entrepreneurs.
- The RestART Mentor's Toolkit: to provide a comprehensive toolkit for mentors.
- Mentor Capacity Building Program and Handbook: to facilitate guidance and training to mentors for successful integration in the development of mentoring to second chance female entrepreneurs
RestART Europe provides excellent opportunities for mentors, policymakers, funding bodies and those working to increase the support of female entrepreneurs. Over the next three years, we will stimulate collaboration, interdisciplinarity and innovation by bringing together female entrepreneurs, mentors, and actors from creative and arts industries.