The direct selling industry in Europe is taking a leading role in expanding opportunities for women entrepreneurs. Seldia, the European Direct Selling Association, teamed with the European Parliament and over 28 partner organizations to present a February exhibition on “Women Entrepreneurs: 5 Pillars for Growth.”
The three-day exhibition represents part of a wider effort to cultivate what Viviane Reding, Vice President of the European Commission, identified in her keynote speech as “the largest untapped potential for entrepreneurship in Europe.” In the EU, women constitute only 34.4 percent of the self-employed and about a 30 percent share in startups.
In a message on the exhibition website, Seldia Executive Director Maurits Bruggink shares the vision of providing “an opportunity for NGOs, civil society organisations and policy makers to engage in the active promotion of women entrepreneurship.” Hosted at the European Parliament in Brussels, the event focused on the five pillars of Government Policies, Education, Innovation, Networks and Access to Finance.
Over 100 participants and 11 MEPs attended a luncheon debate on “The Importance of Government and Education Programmes for Women Entrepreneurs,” featuring three expert speakers followed by a candid open forum during which Members of Parliament and participants could take the floor. One of the speakers was Isabelle Rabier, CEO of direct selling company Dermance. Her call for the French government to increase its involvement in supporting business startups appeared the next day in a leading EU affairs newspaper here.
WFDSA Executive Director Tamuna Gabilaia attended the exhibition, along with representatives from an array of direct selling companies, including Amway, Avon, Mary Kay, NL International, Nu Skin and Oriflame. The exhibition included a prominent display on the opportunities available to entrepreneurs in the direct selling industry, where women make up 85 percent of the salesforce.
Read more about how Seldia and the European Parliament are supporting women entrepreneurs on the exhibition’s website here.