WOMED Award finalists announced for female entrepreneur of 2013

Daphne Aers of TNS in Eeklo, Widukind Stockmans of Studio Pieter Stockmans in Genk, and Hilde Peerlings of Groep Delorge-Peerlings in Hasselt are the finalists of the 15th edition of the WOMED Award (Women in Enterprise and Development). This prize for the female entrepreneur of the year is awarded annually by Markant vzw and UNIZO and rewards female entrepreneurs who have successfully run their own business as their main occupation for at least five years.

As event partner of the WOMED Award, Vlerick Business School is awarding the winner with participation in an SME Excellence programme. In addition to the WOMED Award, the Woman of Promise 2013 award is bestowed upon promising female entrepreneurial talent. The winner of this award will also be honoured by participation in an SME Challenge programme at Vlerick Business School.

One in three entrepreneurs in Flanders is a woman. The WOMED Award offers a view on the success stories in the business world of, for and by women who are boosting the Flemish economy. The award should also motivate and inspire other women to become entrepreneurs,” says Lieve Droogmans, general chairwoman of Markant vzw.

Although efforts to have them catch up are fully underway, women are still under-represented in entrepreneurship (38% in 2012). “That’s a social and economic problem,” says Markant vzw. “Women are often entrepreneurs in entirely different domains than men – in care and services, for example. If we do not succeed in involving women as well in the typically male sectors, we’ll be missing out on an enormous potential in creativity, economic growth and job creation.” Initiatives like the WOMED Award are important in encouraging women to become entrepreneurs via role models.

In recent studies, Tine Holvoet, researcher at Vlerick Business School and WOMED Award jury member, has also found that there’s room for improvement in the area of women and entrepreneurship. She cites a number of reasons for this: “Female entrepreneurs in Flanders are primarily driven by opportunities. So, they don’t enter into entrepreneurship because other work options are limited. Still, we see from data that we compile every year with the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor that the proportion between entrepreneurial men and women remains lopsided year after year. That has to do with three aspects:

  • In general, women in Flanders see fewer good opportunities for starting a company (28% women as opposed to 37% men).
  • In addition, women also seem to have less confidence in their own abilities (27% women versus 47% of the surveyed men).
  • Finally, when they do see a good opportunity, fear of failure keeps more women than men from taking the step to entrepreneurship (57% women as opposed to 32% men).

Minister-President Kris Peeters will present the WOMED Award to the winner on Wednesday, 12 March 2014. You can still vote for your favourite through 16 February via www.womedaward.be


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