Gender equality is a key priority within UNESCO’s work on heritage, creativity and cultural diversity: ‘The equal participation, access and contribution to the cultural life of women and men are human rights as well as cultural rights, and an important dimension for guaranteeing freedom of expression for all. Besides, UNESCO’s recent report Gender equality: heritage and creativity, highlights the need to be proactive in order to accelerate the process of putting policy into practice by promoting equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for women and men, and girls and boys, in the fields of heritage and creativity (UNESCO, 2014)
The RestART Europe Project aims to promote mentoring programs for female entrepreneurs in the arts and creative industries who failed with their previous businesses. This topic is deemed particularly relevant and urgent in the context of COVID-19 that saw many businesses fail. There are currently no programs that focus on training mentors and giving them the necessary tools to provide qualified mentoring for female entrepreneurs who have failed and want a second chance in the arts and creative sector. This objective will be achieved by developing and enhancing the mentors’ skills to offer mentoring and by bringing together the trained mentors as well as second-chance female entrepreneurs in an online networking environment. We encompass RestART Europe with the following Erasmus+ priorities to achieve the mentioned aims:
Women tend to have less opportunity to maintain networks, attend informal networking events, or engage in self- promotion. In this context, mentors can be beneficial. However, across the arts and creative industries, mentors to women appear to be in a relatively short supply.
RestART Europe is convinced that to achieve true social inclusion for the second-chance female entrepreneurs, mentoring should focus on strengthening the skills that female artists and creative workers mainly lack. According to The ArtEnprise (2018) report, the skills that artists and creative workers have to enhance consist of hard business skills (business plan writing, financial skills, research skills, etc.) and 21st-century skills (management and communication skills, social-emotional skills, resilience).
Innovative, collaborative, and interdisciplinary learning opportunities, provided by pre-trained mentors, on real-life aspects specifically focused on female entrepreneurship, will be a key part of enhancing the competencies of second-time female entrepreneurs in the arts and creative industries.
Compared to online courses that are targeting a wide range of learners, RestART Europe will match learners with mentors who will support them in their very specific situation.
In this way, RestART Europe aims to re-strengthen the arts and creative industries by providing second chances to female entrepreneurs through innovative solutions. It proposes innovative and collaborative learning opportunities based on mentoring, real-world problem solving, and project co-creation.
The promotion of the skills of the second-chance female entrepreneurs mentioned above is the core of the project. This is why to fulfill the core of the project; it is essential to improve the skills and capacities of the mentors in various topics such as female entrepreneurship, psychology, and digitalization. In this way, the trained mentors will be the vehicle that will positively contribute to the future mentoring process for female entrepreneurs seeking a second chance after a failure in the arts and creative industries.