Led By HER ran an MIF+ (Move it Forward+) event on November 27 and 28, 2021. A big thank you to EFREI Paris, who hosted the event for free at their new rue de la Tour site in the 16th arrondissement. With 45 attendees, including 17 participants, 9 jury members, and many volunteers and coaches, the event was a success! The participants worked on four projects over the weekend and learned digital and business skills such as design thinking, building a website in WordPress, and digital marketing in workshops designed to push their fledgling businesses towards flight.
Move It Forward+ is an event that was created six years ago by the Digital Leadership Institute (DLI), headquartered in Brussels, which promotes greater participation of girls and women in strategic, innovative ESTEAM (Entrepreneurship & Arts powered by STEM) sectors through activities such as the MIF+ events. MIF+ kicks off with a two-day team event for women interested in exploring entrepreneurship and/or who have an idea that they’d like to work with a team on throughout the weekend. The winning teams are then provided with coaching and mentoring over the following four months to continue their success!
In 2019, DLI, Led By HER, and several other organizations across Europe were awarded a multi-year Erasmus+ grant to create a toolkit for and test the program in the countries of each organization. The toolkit can be found on the website of the lead organization (Women in Digital Empowerment, or WIDE, headquartered in Luxembourg) here.
At the Paris event, the participants were a wide variety of women, including three women from the current and past Led By HER cohorts, students, people searching for jobs, and those interested in entrepreneurship as their next career. Of those who provided it, the average age was 36.
The event led the participants through brainstorming and then refining an idea through design thinking, agile project management, creating a digital marketing plan, and then designing a landing page using WordPress. At the end of the event, they were walked through creating an effective pitch and presentation. After 1.5 hours of preparation, they then presented in teams to a jury of seven people and were given four awards, including most impactful, most innovative, and best overall. We also had a volunteer who led two dance sessions to help rejuvenate our participants and to help them focus. It was very inspirational and energizing! (more details on the schedule here on the Eventbrite page for the event)
Overall, both participants and volunteers rated it highly, with participants giving it an overall rating of 4.1 out of 5 and volunteers giving it a 4.5.
One participant stated that “First of all, we have to take into consideration that all of this was free and the knowledge that you gain is just priceless. I came from Germany and I didn’t regret it at all. The organization team was super friendly and helpful. The coaches were nice and even the participants were just very welcoming. I had a great weekend with Led by her and I would recommend it to people and I would 100% do it again!”
Another stated, in response to the question “What did you like about this event?”, “Everything! There was a very nice ambiance and I learned a lot!” (“Tout! Il y avait une très bonne ambiance et j’ai beaucoup appris !”)
Over 75% of participants reported that they had learned new skills, including learning to pitch, leadership, organization, and creating a website. They also commented that they increased their network, which they considered important for their success in the future. In addition, they have chosen to stay in touch after the event and support each other in their endeavors!
Of the 17 participants, two will continue with the regular Led By HER program for mentoring and seven (split into three teams) have chosen to continue with the MIF+ mentoring component.