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Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme By Estonian Refugee Council and Garage48 Has Successfully Concluded

Empowering Women entrepreneurship programme



In April the "Empowering Women" entrepreneurship programme for women with refugee backgrounds concluded, with five new active companies now operating in Estonia.

Estonian Refugee Council´s Livelihoods and Economic Recovery Programme Officer Grete Karelsohn says it was inspiring to see participants' motivation during the programme to acquire new knowledge to further develop their business ideas. “By creating new companies, the participants are not only establishing their own livelihoods in a new country, but also contributing to the economy and creating new jobs for locals.”

According to Anna Lytvyn and Marina Pritchina, two female entrepreneurs from Ukraine, participating in the Empowering Women programme has been the best thing that has happened to them since the start of the war. "We have gained a lot of new knowledge and plenty of motivation, in addition to round-the-clock mentor support and an amazing environment where we feel like part of a family. Empowering Women is not just a project; it's an experience we would like to go through again and again!"

Over the past six months, 15 teams with refugee backgrounds received support and advice from local mentors to start, sustain, and grow their businesses in Estonia. Mentors from Garage48 and beyond were involved, and group sessions and workshops were held where experts, including those from the Tax and Customs Board and the Agriculture and Food Board, shared their knowledge.

Ambitious women visited local female entrepreneurs in Tallinn and Tartu for inspiration and good advice: Ilma Pood, Chocokoo, The Kurze, family café Karamell, and MiuRio, La Boulangerie, Botanic Garden, Healthy Sweets by Polina, Nanoasia, Rosvytok, Ruslana Romaneskul, and Nutrisweets. 

The programme fostered the development of 12 distinct business ideas across a range of sectors, encompassing food production and catering, arts and crafts, natural cosmetics, financial services, and retail. Currently, five of these are already officially registered and active. The other ideas are currently in the preparatory phase and will enter the local market as soon as the necessary procedures are completed.

The "Empowering Women" entrepreneurship programme was conducted by the Estonian Refugee Council and Garage48.

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