A total of 187 applications submitted by women were approved in 2021 for the amount of 10.6 million euros, in the framework of the New Entrepreneurship Programme covering the period 2021-2027, Energy, Commerce and Industry Minister, Natasa Pilidou said on Wednesday speaking during an event in Larnaca on “Supporting Women Entrepreneurs” organized by the Embassy of Ireland in Cyprus, with the support of Larnaca Municipality and Cyprus Duty Free.
According to Pilidou, the New and Female Entrepreneurship Programmes have been very popular and are, in general, some of the most successful programmes run by the Ministry over the years.
Pilidou noted that other actions are needed as well, such as enhancing child care facilities - an area where the government has taken steps, as she said - and law amendments to protect women who work as employees in companies and as entrepreneurs.
According to Pilidou the New Entrepreneurship Programme for 2021-2027 offers very attractive incentives that encourage women to establish new businesses, thus creating new job opportunities and contributing to the economic development of the country.
The 1st Call of the New Entrepreneurship Programme lasted from May 2021 to December 2021. A total of 820 applications were submitted 390 applicants have been approved for the amount of €22.4 million.
A total of 187 of the applicants are women, approved for €10.6 million. The majority of businesses created are in the services sector, in areas such as law and accounting offices, e-commerce, surgeries, dentistries, nurseries, beauty salons, gyms, and tourism establishments, such as traditional taverns and restaurants, and small hotels.
Furthermore, a large number of new enterprises are also set up in manufacturing, for example small food factories, bakeries, confectioneries, etc.
Addressing the event, Larnaca Mayor, Andreas Vyras said that Larnaca has occasionally demonstrated the importance of innovative and pioneering businesses, especially in times of "economic renaissance" that took place in the midst of social and economic crises. Hence, global experience and the indisputable outcome in local society, impose that we offer institutional support to start-ups as a measure of recovery and social vigour, he added.
He said that one of the main objectives of the event was to strengthen and to encourage the women entrepreneurship in Cyprus and in our city, to expand new vocational rehabilitation pathways for young people and to create new business opportunities.
Ambassador of Ireland to Cyprus, Conor Long, said the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has organized a programme for several years to promote events dedicated to women around the world.
"We are very keen to share our experiences and promotions for women in business and this is an important part of our prosperity in recent decades and Ireland’s leading entrepreneurship expert Paula Fitzsimons will highlight how programmes dedicated of female entrepreneurship and women in business have been essential, critical to our economic development," he added.
Paula Fitzsimons said during her presentation that "some years ago in Ireland we had 1 in 20 women who were early stage entrepreneurs. Now we have 1 in 5 women." The government, she said, acknowledged that there are not enough women entrepreneurs, and went on to improve this.
She also referred to the need to maximise entrepreneurial protection. Fitzsimons said that she developed the initiative "Going for Growth" which is to get more women to be ambitious and to support them to realise their growth aspirations.