Empowering Migrant Women Using Design THInKing ApproacheS for Sustainable Entrepreneurship

In the past years, the number of refugees and migrants in Europe has started to decrease but it is still high in most countries of the ETHIKAS partnership (particularly in Italy, Spain, Greece and Cyprus) and the reception process in all EU countries is still mainly focusing on the material side. According to an article published by the European Website on Integration, migrant and refugee women face a double disadvantage in the integration process, since they face the double burden of being both women and migrants.

Moreover, it has been proven statistically that migrant and refugee women face greater economic inequalities compared to their male counterparts and they remain systematically discounted in the labour market compared to their native peers and migrant men. Finally, studies indicate that women frequently receive less integration support than men, both in terms of language training and active labour market measures. 

Migrant entrepreneurship can offer to host societies a win-win situation, generating incomes for migrant entrepreneurs and contributing to knowledge transfer, innovativeness, and economic growth within the host economy. However, studies reveal that migrant entrepreneurship is primarily male dominated.


ETHIKAS project intends to support migrant women’ social and sustainable entrepreneurship via human centered approaches equipping them with the skills, knowledge and mindset needed to build a system that works for all: society, the economy, and environment.  Our aim is to design and test new adult education opportunities, particularly for adult migrant women with a low level of education and competences.

The creation of new upskilling pathways should allow to adult migrant women to enhance their key skills and to progress towards higher qualifications. Our approach will be embedded into a blended learning hub that will also provide the necessary guidance as a service, via mentor women, to ensure that they have access to relevant learning throughout life, to improve their skills identification and screening, to provide learning opportunities according to their needs, and to develop effective outreach, guidance and motivation strategies.

ETHIKAS at a glance:

  • Transnational desk research review of human-centered approaches, including design thinking and mentoring schemes, to help implementing social entrepreneurship approaches for migrant women
  • Field research including consultation interviews with 18 experts in entrepreneurship and human-centered approaches, including design thinking and mentoring, and 40+ online questionnaires from migrant women and support staff combined
  • Development of a toolkit for trainers, including 21 materials based on a 3-phase framework: learning the basics, learning how to do and learning how to grow and on 3 key areas: communication, business and finance and technical skills. This toolkit will develop and promote innovative learning approaches for migrant women and will be available on the online learning and training platform
  • Development of the Prototype: First, testing of software options will lead to an adequate platform environment and functionalities to allow the implementation phase. A first version (prototype) will be issued to be tested internally by the project partners. The second version will be tested and evaluated by the project partners and the end users. The results will be analyzed, and necessary adaptations and improvements will be implemented. The last version then will be contextualized to the national contexts of the project partners approaches and 21 resources
  • Piloting of the platform in Sweden, Italy, Greece, and Cyprus: the testing will involve 10 migrant women per country and 1-2 supporting staff implementing human-centered techniques (both mentoring and design thinking to support entrepreneurial mindsets) using a blended approach with online and face to face meetings with migrants
  • Multiplier events that will be addressed to a wide public, including policy makers, organizations and professionals and all relevant operators dealing with migrants in the reception process. The events will present the project’s objectives and background as well as its results and will be a channel of dissemination and further exploitation of project’s results and an opportunity to ensure the visibility of the project in the local communities.


  • Funding programme

    Erasmus+ KA220-ADU – Cooperation partnerships in adult education

  • Duration

    31/05/2022 - 01/12/2024

  • Budget

    296.953 EUR

  • Countries

    Sweden, Italy, Spain, Cyprus, Greece, Finland, Romania

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.
Project reference number: 2021-1-SE01-KA220-ADU-000025994
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