Green Gown Awards 2020 - Galway - Mayo Institute of Technology - Finalist

Tags: Green Gown Awards 2020 | enterprise | Galway - Mayo Institute of Technology

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Educate to Innovate: Developing and sustaining Female Food Entrepreneurs  

The main aim of the Educate to Innovate project is to develop and support the growth of Female Food Entrepreneurs (FFEs) across Europe by equipping Vocational Education and Training (VET) educators with an innovative pedagogy guide and a resource platform; aimed at developing female-focused entrepreneurial training influenced by food entrepreneurs. In summary Entrepreneurs helping to develop Entrepreneurs.  

The European Commission has identified that ‘when establishing and running a business, women face more difficulties than men mainly in access to finance, training, networking and in reconciling family commitments. The project outputs will aid VET providers in developing a training course and resources that will equip FFEs to overcome those difficulties.  

The project will upskill VET educators on an innovative teaching method known as peer led training (food entrepreneurs learning from food entrepreneurs) together with introducing work-based training i.e. learning by doing. These unique training methods have been tested and validated by trainers and FFEs across Europe throughout the lifespan of the project and are designed to develop an entrepreneurial mind-set and to foster innovative thinking. The overarching objective of the project is to enhance the sustainability and longevity of Europe’s agri-Food sector by equipping VET trainers with the skills required to teach and foster female food entrepreneurs. 

The project is led by the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) Ireland, in partnership with the Baltic Education Technology Institute (BETI) Lithuania, Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori Toscana (CIA Toscana) Italy, Comunitatea Pentru Invatarea Permanenta (CPIP) Romania and The Polish Farm Advisory and Training Centre (PFA) Poland. 

Top 3 learnings:

  1. We learnt that Peer Led Training is an effective means of training that fosters innovation and enables an informal learning environment. 
  2. We identified the need for further research in this area in particular providing support for the growing number of females in Europe’s Agri-Food sector.  
  3. We discovered that providing supports through research and training that we can contribute to Europe’s food sustainability and rural enterprise development