The Erasmus plus project The Missing Entrepreneurs aims to promote a more inclusive culture to digital entrepreneurship and startups. It focuses among underrepresented groups in entrepreneurship and more specific in digital development of skills that people from our target group already have or would like to expand and upskill them.
Our target group are underrepresented or disadvantaged people in entrepreneurship that are facing challenges in the labour market. Inclusive entrepreneurship policies and programs has as key targets this group which includes women, immigrants, youth, and seniors. Digital entrepreneurship holds potential for making entrepreneurship more inclusive if many digital businesses have lower barriers to entry.
The group of people that was mentioned above, are facing barriers or gabs in entrepreneurship that are nowadays caused from different causes, such as lack of digital skills and absence of basic knowledge on how to start a business. Based on research this affects more seniors and women. Although, public initiatives are targeted to potential entrepreneurs to build stronger network and by extension to improve their access to funds and new opportunities.
As stated in the latest OECD report on “The Missing Entrepreneurs 2019 – Policies for inclusive entrepreneurship”, inclusive entrepreneurship policies are an integral part of inclusive growth. For that reason, the term entrepreneurship is changing, and policy need to start reducing earlier the gender gap in this field. Based on statistics, seniors are more active in self-employment and need to support other entrepreneurs based on their experiences.
Entrepreneurship is the key to potential route out of unemployment and should not be neglected for those who are motivated to start a business by themselves. Based on that, many immigrant entrepreneurs create businesses that employ others, and the number is continuously increasing. In addition, youth are very ambitious to follow their dreams in this industry, but policy makers are not so supportive to innovative ideas.
Digital entrepreneurship seems to have not only a lot of advantages but also some challenges which appear to affect mainly seniors and women. Moreover, women entrepreneurs are less likely to have high-growth ambitions. When people from disadvantaged group would like to create a business, then digital barriers are coming in confrontation with the traditional barriers. To create digital businesses is required for someone to have the knowledge of digital technologies. When policy makers recognize those digital barriers, then actions will be made to improve digital connectivity and create a sustainable environment for digital businesses. Among others, social and financial exclusion as well as economic challenges can be fought if entrepreneurship expands. Thus, the sooner policy makers offer new pathways that help in the creation of new digital businesses the better.