Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona: ODAME, School of Entrepreneurship for Women

Barcelona Activa

May 26, 2010

Creating equal opportunities for women to start small businesses

Creating equal opportunities to start and grow small businesses is important to the entrepreneurial culture of a city like Barcelona, especially when equal means men, women, and immigrants.

Patricia Galvez, a 41 year-old Peruvian-immigrant living in Barcelona, was an enterprising woman ready for a career change. For 17 years, her foreign credentials and pharmacy degree went unrecognized by Spanish institutions, and she settled for a job as a chemist’s assistant.

Her enterprising idea was to create her own Latin American import business after she identified a market gap in Spain’s food industry. It was impossible to find rocoto, a spice commonly used in Latin American dishes. So Patricia set out to change that. The tough question was how would an emerging entrepreneur with little means turn her ideas into a successful business?

Patricia turned to the ODAME – Enterprising Women program at Barcelona Activa, the city’s internationally recognized local development agency. The ODAME program  was originally developed through the European Social Fund’s ambitious EQUAL Community Initiative,  part of an EU plan to “become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”.  When Barcelona Activa’s set its sights on building an entrepreneurial culture in the city that would stimulate innovation and nurture small and medium-sized business, it made sure these opportunities were open to all its citizens.

None of this is possible without equality between the sexes.

The flagship program, ‘Become an Entrepreneur in Equality’, recognizes the economic contribution of members of society who have been financially excluded due to gender, race, or class. Established by Barcelona Activa, the Local Development Agency of the Barcelona City Council, the program offers supports and promotes the presence of business women in the city of Barcelona.

Enterprising women like Patricia take part in all the training courses, including business counseling and learning marketing tools, and receive personalized advice from the technical staff of the project. Patricia also received the financial support she needed to set up her own business through a micro-credit loan.

In the past 23 years, 3.850 emerging female entrepreneurs have participated in Barcelona Activa´s ODAME Program. 48% have created their own company, and out of that group, 61% have created a company in the technology/ communications sector. Reflecting ODAME’s commitment to multiculturalism and non-discrimination, 12% of the students are from other EU Member States, and 9% are from the EU.

ODAME helps new businesswomen like Patricia achieve economic independence every day in the city of Barcelona.

Other Resources:

To Contact this Good Idea We’re Watching:
Ms. Josefa Sánchez
ODAME: Entrepreneurship for Women
Tel: 0034 607 23 66 34
Barcelona, Spain
josefa.sanchez @