Leowomen is a conceptual framework for the identification and the development of competences, implicit and explicit, for boosting the entrepreneurial and economic development of rural areas in Europe.


The development of a set of strategies and tools for recognising and developing the implicit and explicit know-how of a territory. The creation of learning and change strategies in order to disrupt the concepts of education and training of the role of the entrepreneur. On this purpose, the project focuses on identifying the right frameworks for recognising the entrepreneurial potential of women dwelling in a specific socio-economic context, targeting the knowledge and skills gaps between individuals and all those competences that should be acquainted in order to boost the entrepreneurial potential of women.


The result of this projects is interesting for the people in charge of policies on a European, Regional, and Local level, and in particular for those in charge of the training, rural/industrial and regional development policies. The project also addresses education professionals, key actors in the development and all the centres specialised in the study and realisation of pilot projects in the field of equality and social exclusion. Indirectly, the women living in areas with high levels of under- and unemployment, female entrepreneurs that had been educated in alternative ways, such as at home for familiar reasons, underemployed women in agriculture and tourism, and women with skills specific to professions with scarce employment possibilities, will also benefit from the project. The results are, finally, interesting for the people in charge of policies, public administrations, agencies enforcing public policies, private consultants and SME


Among the main results of the project we can name:

  • an integrated and holistic model for the creation of actions aimed at promoting female entrepreneurship in the context or regeneration of local rural communities;
  • a monitoring tool for evaluating the quality and the perfomances of such actions;
  • a collection of best practices.

The model and the tools have been empirically experimented in the Alba Julia region, Romania, where a group of women – a Task Force made of local actors and students from the Faculty of Rural Economics and Sociology at the University of Apulum – selected to be trained as consultants for the development of rural tourism districts. Three local communities have engaged a development process with the support of the Task Force. The second important challenge was the Alliance project in Calabria – an alliance for the entrepreneurial development and increased levels of employment in the rural areas, under the 1997-2000 phase of the Employment NOW program.

The key actors of the projects are 45 young women from Calabria, under- or unemployed but endowed with high-potential skills and training, female, male and aspiring entrepreneurs (about 50 firms and 70 projects of firms for a total of 300 people involved), administrators and technical staff from local and public institutions. The results of the projects and the ways to keep it sustainable have been discussed during the final divulgative seminar held in Brussels on September 29th 2000.


Leonardo da Vinci program

European Community

Avanzamento progetto