Much could be achieved by making sure the small but growing number of females studying/working in STEM are helped to identify entrepreneurial opportunities and to build confidence in their business skills. The problem is that our VET systems are ill-equipped to do this. Firstly, most entrepreneurship education institutions are male-dominated and trainers are unspecialized in the specific strategies and support services that work best with female entrepreneurs. Secondly, the majority of entrepreneurship VET is delivered by small-mid sized institutions whose staff are trained in traditional business models so are unfamiliar with the fundamentals of success in STEM start ups. Finally, females emerging from STEM subjects in VET/Universities/Higher Education (HE) institutions don’t cross paths with entrepreneurship or start-up support near to or at graduation, the crucial moment when most high growth businesses are started.
For these reasons, WISE has been developed with a clear goal: increase the number of female entrepreneurs in STEM by transforming their access to and the quality of the training they receive from entrepreneurship VET institutions. This involves working with the following target groups: providers of entrepreneurship education, wider stakeholders and potential and current female entrepreneurs working in STEM.