Women represent 52% of the total European population, but just a minority are start-up entrepreneurs. This makes female entrepreneurial potential an under-exploited source of economic growth and innovation. When establishing and running a business, women face particular challenges such as reconciling business and family duties and accessing finance, training, and business support networks. These challenges discourage many women from pursuing entrepreneurship, especially in the ICT sector, where women are under-represented. Not only is there a growing gap across Europe between the demand and supply for ICT specialists, but women are overwhelmingly under-represented in this sector. When they choose ICT, they face a higher risk of dropping out because of unfavourable working conditions and lack of career progress.
This technology entrepreneurship MOOC, realized in the framework of WITECH Erasmus+ Project bringing together European academic institutions and business start-up hubs, can be offered in ICT MSc programs to diversify them and make them more attractive for women.
It aims to encourage female scientists, engineers, and technologists to develop businesses based on their expertise and everyone to create enterprises to help women enter the STEM sector.
Total workload of the course: 10 hours
This MOOC is provided by Politecnico di Milano, IPAG Business School, Lappeenranta University of Technology, PoliHub, The Digital Hub in collaboration with Technological University Dublin, The Shortcut.
This MOOC is one of the outputs of the Erasmus+ WITECH project (No.KA203-8699E8F8).
Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union
The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
The MOOC is structured in 3 weeks, that you can study successively or randomly as you prefer according to your own pace; they are in fact all related to the same topic areas but, at the same time, free-standing.
Covering the different weeks, you will therefore progressively acquire tools and knowledge useful to develop your entrepreneurial project aimed to address Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) gender gap.
In Week 0, you will find a short introduction that gives you an overview of the main contents included in the MOOC. At the beginning of each week, a short intro will present you as well main topics and ILOs available in that specific week.
As you will see, the MOOC is organized in the following weeks:
- Week 1 – Entrepreneurship and Management
- Week 2 – Technology Entrepreneurship
- Week 3 – Tech start-ups and hubs in technology entrepreneurial ecosystems
In particular, the first week, realised by IPAG Business School, includes on one side the experience presented by Sara, a young female entrepreneur, as a case in point to discover her start-up journey. In these videos, Sara explains the main ideas and issues she faces in developing her business idea and, taking steps from there, IPAG professors provide their suggestions and insights. On the other side, this week also includes more theoretical videos and additional resources (case studies, linkography, etc.), that allow to expand the content areas, presenting cutting-edge notions in digital economy, strategic management, concepts, and methods in entrepreneurship etc.
The second week, realised by LUT university, includes topics focused on technology entrepreneurship, such as basic and fundamental aspects of software development and e-market place, proof of concepts design and testing, typical pitfalls of start-up companies and so on.
The aim is to provide you with practical knowledge necessary to advance in your start up process and become an entrepreneur. This week also includes as testimonials the success stories of female students and women entrepreneurs in STEM sectors, sharing their knowledge, experiences, and suggestions to succeed in developing a business.
Moreover, at the end of the week, a learning scenario is proposed with the aim of stimulating your reflections and exchange with other participants to support you in taking home your very own idea for your start up company.
Lastly, week 3, realised by PoliHub, focuses on the role of incubators and tech hubs in the innovation ecosystem.In this context, on one side PoliHub shares its mission to support the creation and scaling-up of start-ups and on the other side the hubs, involved as testimonial, showcase how to provide facilities, services, and mentors in the initial and critical phases of the start-up’s life cycle. Taking steps from there, you will learn how to deal with uncertainties and how to consider innovation as a collaborative activity.
Cristina Rossi-Lamastra is a Professor of Business and Industrial Economics at Politecnico di Milano School of Management (SoM), doing research on entrepreneurship, innovation, and gender issues in business contexts. She has published in Science, Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, Entrepreneurship Theory, and Practice, and Research Policy, among others. At Politecnico di Milano, Cristina is President of the Unified Guarantee Committee, Deputy Coordinator of the Ph.D. in Management Engineering, and Responsible for Alumni Relations of SoM. She served as Representative at Large of the Interest Group in Entrepreneurship of the Strategic Management Society and of the Technology and Innovation Management Division of the Academy of Management.
Adnane Maalaoui is Director for Entrepreneurship programs at IPAG Business School. His researches mainly focus on entrepreneurship issues and especially on disadvantaged entrepreneurs (elderly, refugees, disabled entrepreneurs, etc.). He is interested in topics such as: entrepreneurial intention and cognitive approach to entrepreneurship. He mainly applies those questions to cases of diversity and social entrepreneurship. Adnan Maalaoui is the author of 20+ articles published in academic journals. Likewise, he is the author of articles published in professional journals, and in edited books. Adnane is also the author of a series of French speaking MOOCs on entrepreneurship.
Chérine Zgaya-Bouzouita Graduated from IPAG Business School Paris with a Master's degree in Entrepreneurship and Project Management, after a Master's degree in Marketing and Communication. She is the Coordinator and Communication Manager of the IPAG Entrepreneurship & Family Business Center. She has three main missions : the promotion and awareness of entrepreneurship and family business, teaching, research.
Stéphania Mase is Assistant Professor at Ipag Business School, France, where she teaches Marketing, Strategy, and Digital Economy. She has a double Ph.D. from the University of Macerata, Italy, and Sorbonne University, France. Stefania has authored international refereed publications on the International Journal of Arts Management, Journal of Global Fashion Marketing, Palgrave Studies in Practice: Global Fashion Brand Management, ACR North American Advances, and Journal of Marketing Management. In 2020, she published her first book for Springer titled “Art and business: perspectives on art-based management”.
Jussi Kasurinen (Doctor of Science in Technology, Adj. Prof.) is an associate professor with LUT University, specializing in software engineering and software testing, and an adjunct professor of entertainment software engineering. His current research work with LUT University focuses on software processes, software quality assurance, games as software, digitalization, and digital economy. Assoc. prof. Kasurinen has also been working with software testing, test processes, software quality and computer science education. Assoc. Prof. Kasurinen has been doing research collaboration with over forty different software developing companies in Finland and Northern Europe, and has also published books on different topics such as testing and quality assurance, and esoteric programming languages in Finnish.
Sonja Hyrynsalmi is a Junior Researcher in LUT University, Department of Software Engineering. Her research interests are in software business, modern integration platforms and women in STEM research areas. Hyrynsalmi has a background from the startup world and regional development, and she has been interested in the success of Finnish software companies for years. Hyrynsalmi has been active also in the Women in Tech movement in Finland and speaks about a successful career path to the software industry.
Annika Wolff has a BSc in Cognitive Science and a doctoral degree in knowledge modelling and HCI. Her specialisations are in co-design and human-data interaction, at the intersection between complex data, machine and human learning. Her research focuses on how people make sense of, interact with and design from complex data. She is an active researcher in projects such as Building the Civic DataScape , GRETA, ParCos and IMPULSE.
Stefano Mizio is former Head of Startup Acceleration Programs & International Projects at PoliHub. He holds a degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Palermo and an executive MBA from MIP Politecnico di Milano with a focus on Technology Strategy. In 1995 he joined Omnitel Pronto Italia where he has been involved in the launch of the telecommunications network as head of the Radiofrequency Department for Southern Italy. From 2006 to 2010 he was responsible for the technical departments in Vodafone Italy for the development of Mobile Internet and Value Added Services. Since 2010 he decided to dedicate himself to the world of startups and, after an experience in Silicon Valley as technology scout, he founded a startup in mobile marketing and dedicated himself to support teams as mentor and advisor.
Enrico Deluchi, born in Trieste and milanese by adoption, is an electronic engineer at the Politecnico di Milano. He founded his first company at 19, but after graduating, struck by digital innovation, he decided to accept the offer of Italtel, where in 1990 he began to deal with the Internet. After a brief transition to AT&T, in 1996, he joined Cisco where he remained for 15 years, at top international positions. Then he went to Canon Italy in the role of CEO. At the end of this position, he decides to devote himself totally to innovation and creation of new businesses both as an angel investor and as a mentor for young entrepreneurs, collaborating with incubators and other players in the venture capital ecosystem. From October 1st, 2020 he is General Manager of PoliHub, Innovation Park & Startup Accelerator of the Politecnico di Milano. Passionate and authentic, in addition to innovation and business creation, he loves cultivating relationships with people and being in contact with nature, preferably sailing in the open sea or skiing on fresh snow.
Vera Scuderi is Corporate Program Manager at PoliHub, the Innovation Park and Startup Accelerator of Politecnico di Milano, where she deals with projects related to the development of Open Innovation strategies. She has been a consultant of The European House - Ambrosetti, within the Innovation & Technology Hub, the area dedicated to the analysis of topics related to technology and innovation. She holds a degree in Management from Bocconi University in Milan and spent a semester of study at Universidade Católica Portuguesa in Lisbon.
Sara Graziano is a student in Double Degree Engineering and Management, from Politecnico di Torino and IPAG Business School. She is a tech business owner and the winner of the incubator prize from IPAG.
Yekaterina Kovaleva is a Doctoral student in Software Engineering at LUT University in Finland. Her research focuses on looking for measures to ensure gender balance in technology in the educational and professional environment. She is particularly interested in understanding the reasons and factors influencing women's low interest in engineering, especially computer science, and how to increase this interest. Recently, her work is focused on increasing the female inclusiveness of Software Engineering education.
Monika Liikamaa is the CEO, Co-Founder and Chair of Nordic payment service provider Enfuce. Monika’s visionary thinking and her over 20 years of experience in the fast-paced payment industry, has enabled Enfuce to integrate services for its customers in record time. Building sustainable solutions is a core value of the company and this is made possible thanks to Monika’s wide knowledge of the industry. Monika believes wholeheartedly that a business is nothing without a great team of people, and that’s why she has joined forces with industry experts as co-founders and employees. Enfuce is one of the leading fintechs in Europe, with 10 million end-users on its platform.
Natalia Rincón runs CHAOS, an AI startup focused on forecasting cities to improve liveability. She is an architect by profession and currently writes her doctoral dissertation on participatory urban planning and smart cities. Her urban planning expertise is complemented with a strong background in computer science. Ranked in the top 10 EU women entrepreneurs who foster the industry, Natalia advocates and represents the doer women in the tech community. Natalia drives social impact within politics too and serves as a deputy councilor in Tampere and as a member in several urban planning boards. She is also an advisor for foreign talent at the Ministry of Employment and Economy of Finland. She values resilience, creativity, and kindness, and constantly questions the status quo. People are her motivation to pursue innovation, as she strongly believes that this world should be a better place for everyone.
Anna Juusela is an entrepreneur with 10+ years of experience in the retail sector, as a teacher and a consultant in the field of trends, profitability, and marketing. Her vision and determination to prevent forced marriages and empower women led her to establish We Encourage. An impact company utilizing tech for women empowerment by developing a customizable AI chatbot for victims of domestic abuse to provide long-term support and guidance 24/7.
Fabrizio Preda studied Physics Engineering in Politecnico di Milano, where he worked as a research fellow for 5 years after receiving his Master’s degree in 2015. He is author of several peer-reviewed articles and co-inventor of three international patents. Since 2018, he is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at NIREOS (www.nireos.com), a start-up and official spin-off company of Politecnico di Milano. NIREOS develops novel devices in the spectroscopy and photonics sector, both for the scientific and the industrial market. NIREOS SRL is a deep-tech start-up and spin-off company of Politecnico di Milano University, with offices, laboratories, and research facilities in Milan (Italy). Incorporated in 2018, NIREOS is steadily growing thanks to the development and commercialization of innovative devices in the field of photonics and spectroscopy. The company portfolio comprises interferometers, hyperspectral cameras, and broadband photodetectors, which are mainly employed in the scientific sector and are now present in more than 100 labs worldwide. NIREOS is also developing industrial-grade devices to target a much larger variety of applications in the industrial field, such as agrifood, remote sensing, plastic sorting, biology, environmental monitoring, and cultural heritage.
Alessandra Accogli is Cofounder and CEO of Sinergy Flow S.r.l, an innovative startup developing redox flow batteries for long duration energy storage applications based on recyclable and low-cost materials fully compliant with Circular Economy principles. She carried out her Ph.D. at the Surface and Electrochemical Engineering Laboratory at the Politecnico di Milano focusing on the development and optimization of new generation flow batteries employing earth abundant materials with low environmental impact, graduating cum laude in July 2021. In 2019 she was awarded the Rocca Foundation Doctoral Fellowship to carry out research activities at the Electrochemical Energy Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) working on sodium-air batteries. In May 2020 she was awarded the Lamborghini Future FAB Award – 2019 Edition in the Technology sector for her project on the development of an anode-free sodium-based battery as a more performing, safe and sustainable alternative to lithium-ion devices for the automotive sector.
Starting from a scientific background in Physics, she has developed her experience through consultancy for large IT projects, Technical Sales, Transition, Alliance, and Strategic Marketing Management, Business Development, and Startup Mentorship. She has been helping customers to improve efficiency of their IT landscapes, and the organizations she has worked for to fine tune their business models, for an improved offering-market fit. She has worked in IBM, Lenovo, NetApp in different roles: Technical Sales, People Management, Business Development, Product Management. Currently Daniela works in Microsoft, where she deals with High Performance Computing in Italy and EMEA area.
Douglas Aguiar is Cofounder and CEO of the startup PhotonPath.Optical Networks specialist, was actively involved in the development of products for the telecommunications market in the largest optical network equipment supplier in LATAM. During his time at Padtec, was the Optics Technical Lead of the R&D team that developed the first 100 Gbps Transponders to be deployed in Brazil. With his leadership, the team also developed large bandwidth optical amplifiers as EDFA and Raman Amplifiers, Wavelength routers as ROADMs, Optical Channel Monitors and Submarine Cable systems. Developing these products has acquired knowledge on the development process of embedded, high technology, complex systems. Has a B.Sc in Electronic Engineering from UFPE, Recife/Brazil and obtained his Ph.D. degree in Integrated Optics at Politecnico di Milano within the Photonics Devices Group in 2019.
Francesca Pievani, founder of Fili Pari, is a curious and innovation-oriented designer focused on both fashion and applied textile technology. Passionate about the connection between fashion and territory, after the Master's Degree in Design for the Fashion System, she was selected by BMW Group Designworks USA for the BMW Creative Lab powered by Napapijri project. He later specialized in Project Management for a Milanese studio. Fili Pari is the innovative Start Up that develops unconventional materials and products for the textile industry, respecting the land and the environment. The Start Up is focused on womenswear garments made with the innovative MARM \ MORE material: the first marble-based fabrics in the world, patented by them. The project was born among the Politecnico of Milan university with the aim of telling new stories with an innovative and emotional flavor, introducing Italian research, design and creativity.
Alice Zantedeschi, founder of Fili Pari, is a designer focused on product development, graduated in Politecnico of Milan. Alice worked three years for a men's clothing startup based in London, following the design and production of the collections in Italy. In these years she discovered the passion for research and production, elements that are usually behind the scenes of Fashion Business, and deepened her skills. Fili Pari is the innovative Start Up that develops unconventional materials and products for the textile industry, respecting the land and the environment. The Start Up is focused on womenswear garments made with the innovative MARM \ MORE material: the first marble-based fabrics in the world, patented by them. The project was born among the Politecnico of Milan university with the aim of telling new stories with an innovative and emotional flavor, introducing Italian research, design and creativity.
Giovannella Condò, notary and co-founder of Studio Milano Notai, mainly deals with corporate law and banking and project finance transactions. She assists companies, investment banks, private equity and venture capital funds, financial institutions, start-ups and innovative SMEs in every phase of the consultancy, with particular attention to the issue of bonds, mini bonds, project bonds and participatory financial instruments, equity crowdfunding, governance arrangements and debt restructuring. She is very active in project finance transactions in the field of energy and infrastructure, dealing with the entire security package that assists all types of loans, bonds, bonds, project bonds: pledges on shares, shares or credits, mortgages and special privileges and general, assignment of credits as collateral, always carefully evaluating the related tax profile. Lecturer in the corporate law course at the Lombardy School of Notaries, she is the author of scientific contributions on corporate law matters. She is active in women’s empowerment, mentoring, professional and women network initiatives. She is the founder of “La Carica delle 101” a non-profit initiative born from the enthusiasm and tenacity of 100 women + her, the founder, to accompany and support Italian startups in their growth.
Francesca Reich is digital, data, and technology native, having been involved in technology and innovation since studying engineering at University. She has significant global experience in strategy and process innovation, building and leading large multifunctional teams top-tier companies and start-ups. Four primary pillars of professional expertise: marketing, especially for new product/service launches; multi-channel and business development; internet and data collection; technology and innovation. Her last role as CEO enabled leveraging these skills 360 degrees in an Italian labor and EU GDPR data context. Her activities in the broader tech ecosystem include: STEM female mentor, Angels4Women founder and investor, Politecnico di Milano Alumni Committee.
Special thanks for his contribution also to Julian Ellison (The Digital Hub) for sharing as testimonial his experience and insights on entrepreneurship and mentorship.