WEP and Airbnb organised an event on April 10 to launch their collaboration in view of boosting female entrepreneurship in Europe. Under the new partnership, Airbnb and WEP will organize multiple workshops across Europe to share resources and toolkits to better support female entrepreneurs who are interested in using the Airbnb platform to start or grow their businesses.
The intimate cocktail lunch was hosted by MEP Claudia Tapardel, a S&D member and long defender of women entrepreneurship. She started the session with a reminder that women need not only the moral support of European institutions but also a more concrete one, with the creation of financial lines, and training for women who want to develop a career in business. She underlined that digital was helping minorities such as women to become entrepreneurs but that it should not turn into a competition with the traditional ways of doing business. She ended the speech with a call for ideas as the elections are approaching and newly elected politicians will be looking for fresh projects to support.
"In Romania, when there is a tough job to do, women are always asked to do it"
Claudia Tapardel, MEP
Our Secretary General Charlene Lambert then presented WEP and offered flowers to Georgina Browes from Airbnb to congratulate them for their fresh moving in Brussels and their new premises. Pooja Tanna, from Airnb London offices, explained the concept of Airbnb Experiences, a platform through which people list unique activities and can share their projects, interests and passions with visitors from around the world. More and more women who did not think of entrepreneurship started experiences and built a business model around it.
Five women from Norway, Italy, France and the UK who are Airbnb experience leaders in their cities then took the floor to share their stories and give advice on how to start a successful business on the platform. They also highlighted the gratification to establish a social connexion in their communities and how they felt thrilled to become mentor and inspire other women thanks to the Experiences. They ended with a positive message on gender equality, stressing out that relationship with men had to be collaborative and that even if we do not have the same skill set, we can learn from one another.
Their speeches sparked a lot of interest amongst the invitees, who asked them what their main challenges had been. The unanimous answer was the lack of information and lack of mentor. Another person asked why choose Airbnb to set up a business, and they highlighted that it was hassle-free, easy to set up and very adaptable. A member of the audience asked our Secretary General what was the missing link between the European and local dimensions. She pointed out that there was no strategy for women entrepreneurs where there are targets and milestones, but only scattered projects and initiatives.
WEP has been advocating for women entrepreneurship since 2015, organising quarterly high-level briefings alongside its partners SELDIA and Deloitte.