We are all familiar with motivational calls of “follow your dream”, “pursue your passion” and right after we get questions like “can you live off that”? The world is full of talented people that should follow their passion; the brave ones go for it and the WISE learn how to do it.
With the aid of a generous Erasmus+ grant, We Are Entrepreneurs has begun piloting quarterly training sessions. Orchestrated by its founder Diana Medrea-Mogensen, 12 weekly four-hour sessions are spread over April, May, and June 2022 at Art Escape Studios and Café in the heart of Copenhagen.
The project’s name is WISE, an acronym for ‘Women Inspired, Successful and Empowered’. Do you know what happens when we combine arts and business?
How it all started
As a first of its kind, the WISE project is committed to helping artistic ex-pat women struggling to get integrated into the job market.
“This training is to give them the entrepreneurship skills to teach them to open their horizons to modern opportunities, such as digital skills. And also, what innovation processes and techniques are out there, and where they can access them,” says Diana Medrea-Mogensen.
In collaboration with 5 other European organizations (Versli mama and Dailininku from Lithuania, ETN from Italy, ANKA from Greece, and Step by Step from Iceland), “We Are Entrepreneurs” is part of the WISE project in Denmark.
“Having a job is crucial for the social and economic well-being of an ex-pat. This is mainly because being jobless in a foreign country many times deepens the isolation and cuts you out of society for some time. And especially, if you’re an artist, a field vulnerable to the free labor market, and a woman, you’re particularly at risk of not earning a living.” Diana explains.
And that is why WISE was born.
Once a hobby, now a living
The sessions are ideally suited to ex-pat job-seekers who might find themselves at a crossroads and be contemplating a change in direction. Perhaps now is the right time to pursue their passion, perhaps while bringing up a family.
You could ask: Why don’t they just sign up for a marketing or business education?
The answer is that, in many cases, they already have a degree in some area. Some of them have shifted to arts only a couple of years ago, some decided to turn a lifelong hobby into a living right now. In many cases, they are also taking care of their families. That’s why this project is a perfect way for them to gain that extra push of knowledge, insight, and coaching.
While in some countries women in arts and handicrafts come from rural areas and have weak knowledge of modern digital business practices, in other counties they are a few steps ahead. The WISE project is therefore tailored for each country specifically, still covering the three main topics.
In Denmark, the project is focused more on helping women from ex-pat families and women with more difficult socio-economic backgrounds.
FACTBOX: The three modules
The training consists of 12 sessions covered in three modules spread over April, May, and June 2022. Each month represents a specific topic designed to strengthen the artists’ business knowledge and increase their awareness of modern opportunities in creative industries.
Creative Entrepreneurship – practical training in entrepreneurial skills: e-shop development, SEO, classical and digital marketing, trading on Etsy, E-bay, pricing, cost structure, production efficiency, networking as a tool, etc.
Contemporary Arts – theoretical knowledge and personal/online visits to modern art museums, galleries, opening ceremonies, collaborative incubators, artist studios, art auctions and evaluation procedures, restoration artists and local craftsmen, paying visits to places of performing artists to get better insight into creative industries, its market trends, and different ways of artists experimenting with ideas and materials.
Innovation – usage of 3D printing, virtual reality solutions, making eco/zero waste products from local raw material components, usage of recycled plastic, textiles, glass, etc. The aim is to encourage project participants to exercise an innovative way of thinking and a creative approach to well-known items/activities. Site visits planned will help to dive into the innovation ecosystem deeper.
What comes next?
In September 2022, We Are Entrepreneurs and Art Escape Studio and Café are organizing a dissemination event to present the project results to local stakeholders. During this event, the artists will present their work to the public in NFT format. In October 2022, selected NFTs created by participants from all 5 countries will be displayed during Wise Women Week in Vilnius, Lithuania at the Šv. Jono gatvės galerija.
What’s more, We Are Entrepreneurs has started a collaboration with the e-learning platform uQualio to reach as many women in arts as possible. The plan is to put all the sessions in the e-learning format so that the WISE project can be of use for many more.
We invited several speakers and trainers from arts and business, and cannot wait to spread the knowledge further.
Stay tuned to see how the project progresses. Read more about our other project focused on financial literacy here.
Read more about the project on the EU page: https://wise-women.eu/
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