Digital entrepreneurship tools and support for women entrepreneurs

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Digital entrepreneurship tools and support for women entrepreneurs | Tools fr digitales Unternehmertum und Untersttzung fr Unternehmerinnen | Инструменти за цифрово предприемачество и подкрепа за жени предприемачи | Alati za digitalno poduzetnitvo i podrka poduzetnicama | Ψηφιακά εργαλεία επιχειρηματικότητας και υποστήριξη για γυναίκες επιχειρηματίες | Strumenti di imprenditorialit digitale e sostegno alle donne imprenditrici | Digitālās uzņēmējdarbības rīki un atbalsts sievietēm uzņēmējām | Інструменти цифрового підприємництва та підтримка жінок-підприємців

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Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

 

 

 

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Latvia

National Entrepreneurship Ecosystem and Women Entrepreneurs

Impact Measurement Results of the online survey with digitalization experts

Conclusions from the Local Roundtables with Stakeholders


National Entrepreneurship Ecosystem and Women Entrepreneurs

General overview

In Latvia, there are 29% of women on the boards of publicly listed companies, which is a little bit above the EU average (26.7%) in 2017[1]. At the same time, the difference in wages between Latvian women and men was 14.1%[2]. According to the data of the Latvian enterprises data basis Lursoft[3], there were 34% of companies in Latvia, where at least one woman was represented on the management level in 2019. The Cabinet of Ministers of Latvia currently[4] has only two women ministers (Minister of Education and Science, Minister of Interior) or 14% of a total of 14 ministers.[5] At the same time, the Latvian Parliament (Saeima) is represented by 27 women out of 100 deputies.[6]  

General characteristics population and employment[7]

  Population: 1.9 million (2020): women ~ 1 million; men ~0.9 million.

  General employment rate: 71,6% (age: 15-64, 2020).

  Women: 70,2% in the workforce (age: 15-64, 2020).

  Men: 73.1% in the workforce (age: 15-64, 2020).

  Unemployment rate: 8.4% (age: 15-64, 2020).

  Unemployed women: 7.4% (age: 15-64, 2020).

  Unemployed men: 9.4% (age: 15-64, 2020).

Despite the fact that there are more women than men in Latvia, a share of employed women is smaller than of man. At the same time there is a lower percentage of female unemployment than of men, across all age groups, except from 15 to 24 years age group.

Entrepreneurship[8]

  According to the distribution of enterprises most enterprises in Latvia (2017) were microenterprises (1-9 employees): 94% (164 708) of all enterprises.

  SMEs (10-249 employees): ~6% (10 773) of all enterprises.

  There is only a tiny fraction of large enterprises with over 250 employees. 

  In terms of workforce SMEs takes only around 25% (70 998 employees).

  Microenterprises employ majority of the workforce 75% (216 709 employees) of the labour force.

  In 2019 38% of all enterprises had at least one registered member who was a woman. Those were mostly enterprises belonging to the services sector.

  Most employees are concentrated in the services industry, followed by the trade industry.

There is not any detailed statistics on women entrepreneurs available, however, women are mainly running microenterprises and SMEs. This should be considered that smaller enterprises face barriers to the adoption of ICTs, including difficulties accessing finance with which to invest in ICTs.

Latvian Women in Digital Scoreboard 2020[9]/[10]

  According to the Digital Scoreboard 2020, Latvia ranks 16 among EU28 countries with a score 51.8, which is close to the EU average (EU: 54.5);

  Women (82%) are using Internet a bit less than men (85%);

  There are more women among people who have never used the Internet than men (10%);

  A larger number of women are doing online banking (85%) and using e-Government thank men (81% - online banking; 66% - e-Government);

  More women (46%) than men (40%) have basic digital, above basic skills (26% - women; 22% - men); at least basic software skills (47% - women; 41% - men);

  Only 8.9% of women are STEM graduates compared to 18.4% of men per 1000 individuals aged 20-29;

  2.1% of total employment were female IT specialists compared to 3.7% of men;

  The above basic digital skills of people in Latvia decrease with the age. In case of young women (16-24 y) more than 55% have such skills, while only around 32% of women in the age group from 25 to 54 years have above basic digital skills, and only around 8% of older women (55-74 years) have the above basic digital skills;

While there isnt huge difference between women and men in Latvia according to the Digital Scoreboard indicators, Latvian women look more disadvantaged compared to the EU28 average in the following categories:

  Only 5% of Latvian women have done an online course compared to the EU28 average (11%);

  Only 7% of Latvian women have participated in online consultations or voting compared to the EU28 average (12%);

  Only 8.9% of women per 1000 individuals aged 20-29 are STEM graduates compared to 14.3% of the EU28 average.

There is not huge difference between women and men in Latvia according to the Digital Scoreboard indicators, except the use of internet and a number of STEM graduates. Women starting from the age of 25 are more disadvantaged having a lower level of the above basic digital skills than younger women. Quite a small number of women (and men) have done online courses and participated in online consulting compared to the EU28 average.

 
[1]  EC, 2019, 2019 Report on equality between women and men in the EU, p.27, retrieved from: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/aid_development_cooperation_fundamental_rights/annual_report_ge_2019_en_1.pdf
[2] Eurostat
[3] https://www.lursoft.lv/
[4] March, 2021
[5] https://www.mk.gov.lv/lv/ministru-kabineta-sastavs
[7] Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, 2021
[8] Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, 2021

[9] EC. (2020) Women in Digital Scoreboard 2020. (data of 2019) file:///C:/Users/a/Downloads/WomeninDigitalScoreboard2020Latvia%20(3).pdf

[10] Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, 2021; Eurostat 2021.

 

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Impact Measurement Results of the online survey with digitalization experts

No.

Name

Position

Email

1.

Svetlana Ignatyeva

Docent on IT specialities at the Daugavpils University

svetlana.ignatjeva@du.lv

2.

Olha Volkova

IT training specialist at the Latgale Central Library (Daugavpils)

olga.volkova@lcb.lv

3.

Raivis Latvens

IT trainer and specialist, freelancer (Riga)

raivis.latvens@gmail.com

4.

 Timurs Boronenko

IT specialist at the company Evolution Gaming (Riga)

timurubica@bk.ru

5.

Davis Vītols

IT trainer and specialist, freelancer

dviitolss@gmail.com

 

All interviewed DEs agree that the implementation of such a training of a digital expert, based on the Curriculum Prototype that has been developed, be effective for women in developing of new digitalization skills and up scaling their businesses. Their comments:

-          DEs who will train women-entrepreneurs have to know expectations and needs of their target group. In this sense, such a training of DEs will be effective enough, because it considers special needs of women-entrepreneurs.

Three interviewed DEs answered that such a training on digitalization designed specifically for women entrepreneurs is very important, and two DEs as Important. Their comments:

-          as I can conclude from my experience, digital skills of women in business are lower than digital skills of their colleagues-men. It means that a special training program (and also this one, which is based on the Curriculum Prototype) will be very useful for them.

One interviewed DE once participated, as a trainee, in such a training focused on how to support specifically women-led businesses, but four DEs answered never. The comment of the first DE:

-          I participated in the individual consulting work on IT and digital skills for 3 women-entrepreneurs in Daugavpils. We had no specially prepared curricula of the course, but I helped them to solve their daily business problems using digital tools.

All interviewed DEs never offered, as a trainer/digital expert, a training on digitalization specifically designed for female entrepreneurs.

Three interviewed DEs answered that 26-50% and 2 DEs that 51-75% of time related to certain business tasks will be saved as the result of the introduction of digital technology and the adoption of digital tools (on an annual basis).

One interviewed DE answered that 1-25%, 3 DEs - that 26-50%, and 1 DE - that 51-75% of costs will be reduced as the result of the introduction of digital technology and the adoption of digital tools (on an annual basis).

According to four interviewed DEs revenues will be increased by 1-25% and according to one DE by 26-50% as the result of the introduction of digital technology and the adoption of digital tools (on an annual basis).

The interviewed DEs supposed that the investment that women will need to make to participate in such a training and to purchase the digitizing equipment and tools is profitable for their business, and provided the following explanations:

-          women-entrepreneurs already have the digitizing equipment, but they usually have no sufficient digital skills to work with them and to use all capacity of this equipment so, they have to be trained in order to use their resources (the digitizing equipment) more effectively;

-          I think, the investment is profitable in terms of the benefit they will gain both in time and money through the digitalization of business tasks, because digital skills definitely help to save both money and time in any modern business;

-          I suppose, first of all, digital tools help to save time spent on processing documents, negotiations with partners and consumers etc., but in turn, time saves money and decreasing business costs.

 

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Conclusions from the Local Roundtables with Stakeholders

Local face-to-face round table with Latvian stakeholders was organized in Daugavpils, at the Daugavpils University on January 25, 2022. Ten local stakeholders participated in this, representing Daugavpils University, Rēzekne Academy of Technology, Study Center Plus, Latvian Rural Women's Entrepreneurship Support Fund, Latvian Rural Consultation and Education Center, Latvian Chamber of Trade and Commerce (LCCI), Irish Latvian Chamber of Commerce (ILLC), Latvian Information Technology Cluster, the foundation "Riga TechGirls" (NGO), as well as Daugavpils City Council and Augdaugava Municipality.

During the round table Curriculum Prototype was presented to the local stakeholders, and the following topics were discussed with them: (1) the best way of using the Curriculum in order to raise the capacity of digitalization experts to support women entrepreneurs in improving their sustainability; (2) the expected impact of the training on the businesses of women entrepreneurs; (3) how it can help supporting organization and policy makers to improve the situation of women entrepreneurs in general and women facing difficult circumstances.

Participants of the round table suggested the following:

1. The best way of using the Curriculum. One of the best ways to implement the Curriculum into training practice is to use it in the economics and entrepreneurship study programs of universities, colleges and specialized business courses. It is no secret that the majority of students in these programs and courses in Latvia are women. The curricula of universities, colleges and courses need to be constantly updated, and the Curriculum Prototype developed under the project can be a good source for such updates. Furthermore, training centres operating in the private sector can use the Curriculum Prototype to develop their lifelong learning curricula for adults in the area of entrepreneurship. Private training centers can also offer targeted courses for women entrepreneurs at the market of educational services, based on the program developed under this project. All these activities need no additional funding.

2. The expected impact of the training on the businesses of women. Digital tools are useful for women entrepreneurs primarily because they help to solve a specific women's challenge the balance between business and family responsibilities, private life. Furthermore, they do not require large financial investments. The main question is how to organize training for women entrepreneurs on the effective use of digital tools in their business. Experience shows that women in Latvia study more willingly in comparison with men. However, women entrepreneurs are indeed very busy, and in order to train them, a special organizational and motivational approach is needed. Most likely, this approach should include both individual counselling and general lessons remotely and in person. The time spent on training will undoubtedly pay off in increased business efficiency both in terms of time saving and cost savings. This is especially true for women entrepreneurs working in the peripheral regions of Latvia, as they have fewer opportunities to participate face-to-face in the various digital tools training programs offered in Riga.

3. How the Curriculum can help supporting organization and policy makers to improve the situation. Firstly, the very implementation of such a project and the meetings taking place in its framework made it possible to draw the attention of policy makers and decision makers to the difficulties that women entrepreneurs experience in the development of digital tools and their application in their business. Secondly, the Curriculum is a good resource for public institutions to develop and organize training programs for women entrepreneurs. Thirdly, the Curriculum developed under the project can help local municipalities and business organizations develop new projects to support women entrepreneurs, as well as young entrepreneurs, disabled entrepreneurs and other target groups.

 

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Last change: 12/29/22.