The wilaya (region) of Setif, Algeria, has a strong economic and commercial potential, it is distinguished by a large offer of university centers and vocational training centers. Despite this, the participation of women in the economic sphere remains low: it is estimated that in 2016 and 2017 only 14% of projects supported by the National Youth Employment Support Agency and the National Unemployment Insurance Fund were initiated by women in the region. These statistics are similar to the figures recorded at the national level in recent years, although women’s participation is slightly higher.
How can we reverse this trend while best supporting entrepreneurial activities run by women?
The Women in Business of Algeria (WIBA) Association conducted a field diagnosis on the development of women’s entrepreneurship by mobilizing the main actors of gender equality in the wilaya of Setif. This study directly involved the National Institute for Specialized Professional Training INSFP (Setif) and the University of Setif, a company, a media and several state and public institutions such as the Algerian Observatory for Women, the Setif Municipal People’s Congress (APC) and the Chamber of Commerce, which facilitated access to the data.
Between March and April 2018, several activities took place such as a series of workshops dealing with gaps in the application of training in management and business management, obstacles in the agri-food sector, or internet’s role in enterprises. In addition, at the Entrepreneurship and Employment Fair in Setif (April 7 and 8, 2018), WIBA distributed a questionnaire to find out what motivates the women in Setif to start a business, as well as the obstacles that hinder their entrepreneurial intent. 100 female visitors to the Fair answered, most of them aged between 20 and 30, either students or unemployed. Finally, a workshop to present the findings of the diagnosis was organized in May in parallel with the visit of different companies managed by women in several communes of the wilaya of Setif.
At the end of these activities, WIBA identified that the women in Setif have a huge potential to create businesses but that their intentions are slowed down by constraints such as the fear of launching a business, the lack of means of financing, the inexperience in the field of business, bureaucracy and especially the lack of support and incubators. Between September and November 2018, it is planned that WIBA will implement a field project to promote Setif’s women entrepreneurs to the general public and professionals. The aim is to encourage networking and exchanges between women carrying projects, experts, state support systems and investors. On the other hand, the project aims to increase the productivity of women-owned enterprises operating in various key sectors of the region such as industry, tourism, handicrafts and agriculture.
This initiative is part of the field projects developed by the local clusters of gender equality actors© set up by the Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation since 2015. It is part of the "Reinforcing the capacity of equality actors" project, funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) and coordinated by the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed). This action is also part of the project "Developing women’s empowerment", labeled by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.