The company is a woman

Photographs of female shops in the province of Varese. Women face the challenge, trying to overcome gender gaps and pandemics. “But we need a new culture that encourages new generations,” said Ilaria Broggian, chairwoman of the Varese Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Committee

In a recent interview with La Repubblica, well-known fashion entrepreneur Elisabetta Franchi said: “Women? Often they limit themselves”. A position on the female entrepreneurial spirit that periodically comes to the fore in reflection. But is that really the case? And above all, over the headlines, is it really possible to generalize to the female question? There is obviously no clear answer, but a look at the data and initiatives to encourage female entrepreneurship from the territory is certainly possible. And comforting.

“Before the numbers, however, we need a general premise: the debate on women’s entrepreneurship must be at the heart of a reflection that emerges into a new culture, which in particular stimulates the new generations.” To emphasize it Ilaria Broggian, Entrepreneur from Gallarate Lurich Srl, Former Vice President of the Union of Industrialists of Varese Province, and today Chairman of the Varese Women’s Entrepreneurship Committeea structure recently created by Chamber of Commerce exactly with this goal in mind. “Is the company a woman? It would be a good wish. The company is certainly young! It is in fact the resourcefulness of women under 35 that characterizes the trend of business birth rate in Italy. The national numbers of the first part of 2021 , based on enrollments in the Chamber of Commerce, had seen an 8.5% increase in companies set up by women in this age group.In Varese, the latest figures then tell us that female businesses account for 20.9% of the total It goes without saying that it is important to improve this ability to do business, to feed girls from an early age so that they can grow and train with the awareness to do so, overcome gender gaps but without pretending to be able to do business for a woman is often no more difficult than for a man ”.

But what exactly does the 2021 photo of the female entrepreneurial spirit in the province of Varese say from the data processed by the Chamber of Commerce? First, we are talking about small businesses, 59% individual, while personal businesses stop at 14% compared to 20% of male and joint ventures at 25% versus 30%. As Broggian points out, these are the realities of young people: 11% versus 8.2% of those for men. In absolute numbers, there are 12,373 female businesses in the area, which with their 20.9% of the total exceed the Lombard average (19.6%) and remain below the national average (22.7%). The number of employees is about 36,750, which is 14.9% of the total province. It is particularly interesting to note how the frequency has reached its highest level this year, changing at prepandemic levels. In terms of the type of sector that female entrepreneurs choose, almost one in four companies work in retail, one in ten in manufacturing. The growth in more innovative sectors, such as software production or IT consulting, in activities not typically female according to the common imagination, such as warehousing, makes us reflect.

At the level of the provincial geography, female businesses are concentrated in the larger municipalities: Varese, Busto Arsizio, Gallarate, Saronno and Cassano Magnago. On the other hand, if you consider the share of shops in the total of the single municipality, the areas with the highest female presence are those with the largest tourist and service activity occupations: Cittiglio, Lavena Ponte Tresa, Luino, Viggiù and Germignaga . Of particular interest, from an economic but also sociological point of view, is the observation of recent trends in the new registrations. In fact, in 2020, it was found that the negative effect of coronavirus was more affected for women: registrations of new stores were down by 21% compared to the previous year against 15% for men. A situation that may well be explained by the fact that women are on the one hand more present in the most affected sectors, such as services, on the other hand, by the greater family burden associated with emergencies. .

In 2021, women’s businesses in the Varese region grew by 2.4%, faster than the 1.7% increase in men’s businesses. The decline of the pandemic did not stop the desire to participate

In May 2021, the situation changed: registrations were generally restarted, as if the ideas that had been put in the drawer in an emergency had then taken shape. In 2021, the total number of new registrations was + 24% and the number of cancellations decreased. Female companies have thus grown by 2.4%, more than the 1.7% increase of male companies. In practice, the decline in the year of the pandemic did not stop the desire to participate by posing new challenges. “Varese data speak for themselves: women businesses are ready to support recovery. For their part, the institutions are ready to do their part: in pnrr itself, the role of women as a priority for the ‘ Development, “commented Broggian.” In particular, the Fondo Impresa Donna is a financial support, established with an initial loan of 40 million euros, to which 400 million will be added from the plan, intended for female entrepreneurs. Three objectives: to do business, to develop skills, to foster innovation. This is all well and good, but we must not forget about the gender gaps that have deep-rooted links with social heritage, family tradition or schooling.

The Varese Women’s Entrepreneurship Committee – developed on the basis of a protocol between the Ministry of Economic Development, the Presidency of the Council and the Chamber system – formed for the 2021-2024 mandate by 17 members, including Chamber advisers and representatives of trade unions, was born exactly To overcome gender boundaries and to encourage and support the presence of women in business and economic activities, in general. “The aim is to encourage the circulation of ideas, to promote positive actions, to realize projects and services for the benefit of women with a transversal approach: the full identity of a person is even more important than economic, social and familial”, explains the President. . “Promoting working conditions therefore means first and foremost favoring those of life. Therefore, we need to look at the issue from different perspectives, as we highlighted in a recent conference on the subject in Varese.

The themes that come into play are many. I am thinking of orientation and then of training very young girls, the role of STEM skills, fostering flexibility, fostering well-being, addressing tenders, access to credit for women companies to make them responsible for these issues. Women’s well-being promotes entrepreneurship just as entrepreneurship promotes well-being. As a committee, we want to make our contribution to the growth of the role of women in a better social and economic system, not just in the province but in the country. Without a new culture, however, you can go nowhere: for this reason, communication, including the presence on social networks, as well as the history of entrepreneurs in schools is fundamental “.

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