Gender equality in Finnpartnership’s focus during the 2019-2021 operating period


The Business Partnership Programme of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Finnpartnership, will continue to run its core services, Business Partnership Support and the Matchmaking service, as usual in the new operating period of 2019-2021. The programme is managed by Finnfund. During the new operating period that started in January 2019, an important goal will be gender equality. The aim is to get more women-led and women-owned businesses from the developing countries to partner up with Finnish companies. At the same time, the aim is to increase the amount of women entrepreneurs who apply for Business Partnership Support.

The focus of the operating period can be seen in concrete measures, for example in quotas for women entrepreneur invitees at the Doing Business with Finland seminars and as separate women-only seminars (both organized in the developing countries). In 2019, women-only seminars will be organized at least in Tunisia in April (design, home décor, crafts) and in Rwanda in May (ICT based services).

The idea of a women-only business seminar was born in Rwanda in September 2018 during a planning meeting between UN Women, Rwanda Women Chamber of Entrepreneurs, Finnpartnership and NGOs where ideas for Finnpartnership’s future operating period and the implementation of its gender focus were discussed. It was decided then that a women-only seminar model would be tested because it had been noticed that in the mostly men-dominated seminars, women entrepreneurs and leaders tend not to speak publicly and stay behind to wait for their turn at the Matchmaking table. This is regrettable also because Finnish companies often get good and committed local partners from the local women-led companies. By lifting gender-equality to its focus in the new operating period, Finnpartnership also supports Finland’s visibility endeavours with regards to the state’s Gender Equality Price.