Entrepreneurship – a source of hope for women who are victims of violence

January 6, 2015

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janiceIÉSEG is helping women who are victims of violence to reveal and rebuild themselves through entrepreneurship with its program “Entreprendre ta vie” (Change your life through entrepreneurship).

November 2014According to a recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report, 35% of women in the world have suffered physical and / or sexual violence from their partner or another person.

Every year in France, more than 200,000 women from the ages of 18 to 59 are victims of physical and / or sexual abuse. It was these worrying statistics about the high levels of women who have experienced violence and exploitation that prompted Chiara Condi to create HERAFrance in 2013.

Research in the US has revealed that education and training programs (which include themes on economic empowerment), for women who are victims of violence have improved their financial security and confidence in themselves.

HERAFrance aims to provide assistance and training to women who are or have been victims of exploitation or violence, accompanying them in their professional development because she says, “there is help available for women who have suffered violence, but there is not enough hope. In order to succeed they need to acquire the tools to capitalize on the strong spirit of resilience in the face of their ability to survive”.

HERAFrance relies on a range of partners in Paris specializing in entrepreneurship and support, including IÉSEG School of Management and the Entrepreneurship Chair at ESCP Europe.

IÉSEG colloborated with the association to build the program “Entreprendre ta vie”, because for Dr. Janice Byrne, EMBA lecturer and academic director of HERAFrance at IÉSEG, “participating in the program provides these women with the opportunity to build a new future. By restoring confidence, this program encourages them to find an underestimated force in themselves and helps them to recover through training and obtaining a position of responsibility. Entrepreneurship therefore not only serves as a lever for economic independence but also enables development on a social and personal level”.

Entreprendre ta vie” : a unique program in France

Once or twice a month, a group of 20 women attend courses at IÉSEG School of Management. Faculty members voluntarily offer expertise in areas as diverse as idea generation, finance, marketing and communication, negotiation, management and business planning, covering all the required fields for the creation of a company.

Dr. Janice Byrne says, “the incredible diversity of participants -women of all ages, varied life experience,  educational and ethnic backgrounds – deeply enriches the learning environment for students and for professors at IÉSEG”.

Outside of school, tutors (experienced entrepreneurs, business women, professional coaches, training specialists …), act as “personal coaches”,  guiding and supporting each woman  throughout their participation in the training program.

All the volunteers make themselves available to support and assist women in realizing their professional development.

Dr. Janice Byrne concludes by saying, “the aim of HERAFrance and the IÉSEG School of Management entrepreneurship program is to support these “survivors” to successfully develop their business”.

Chiara Condi, president of HERAFrance says, “the purpose of the program is to lead women to entrepreneurship but we hope that this project will also contribute to their personal development. Participating in this program will enable them to develop their independence, confidence and offer other openings to the labor market”.