WISE has been developed with a clear goal: increase the number of female entrepreneurs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) by transforming their access to and the quality of the training they receive from entrepreneurship VET institutions.

In recent years we have seen strong media coverage of tech enterprises with female CEOs and founders and young women creating apps and programming their way to success. However, while such coverage is welcome as a means of raising awareness, these stories represent the exception rather than the norm. The overall agenda for female entrepreneurship has seen gradual progress, but the case of women in STEM still lags far behind, present only in policy-makers’ speeches and in the media, but underdeveloped on the ground.

This project convenes actors at all levels across the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system and the beneficiaries in order to promote change which is sustainable in the long term. By involving aspiring female STEM entrepreneurs and graduates at the heart of our VET response, the voice of business is central to the partnership’s activity.

The fact that women have different approaches to enterprise development, learn in different ways and require different support structures is well documented on paper, but often unexplored in action. The Start up in STEM course will address many of these aspects, using multimedia, interactive formats to generate both attitudinal change and grow confidence in technical skills. This responds to the need to develop more strategic and integrated use of open education resources in education and training systems.