Initiated in 2016 by the different partners of IESE Business School in Barcelona, Imperial College London, Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Technische Universität München and P.A.U. Education in Barcelona the WE Health project got started in 2017 in order to enhance the participation of women in health innovation and entrepreneurship activities.
A design thinking workshop in Barcelona in March laid the basis for further activities. 30 women from all over Europe from different ages and with a variety of professional backgrounds in the healthcare sector got together to develop ideas on how to best address the underrepresentation of female innovators. Numerous ideas were created that finally led to activities realized in the following months:
- Three different Capacity Building Modules including training, networking and mentoring tailored to the specific needs of women
- Design and setting up of a Network of Women Health Innovators aimed at creating a space for all interested actors involved in women entrepreneurship and gender issues
The Capacity-Building programme was composed of three modules, complementary to each other, but self-standing. Participants were able to select the module that best met their needs. The 2,5 daylong modules were all packed with practical tools and real life experiences. Networking sessions and inspirational speakers allowed participants to exchange their views and make contact with other women driving innovation in healthcare.
In mid-June, the first participants got together to explore their entrepreneurial ambitions. It was the first module celebrated by the WE Health Network, under the name “Unlock your innovative potential”, and took place at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. To guide the participants in taking their first step towards leadership and entrepreneurship in health innovation, the first module saw the participants work with inspirational speakers and through interactive learning techniques and coached reflections. They also engaged with the methodology used in the “business model canvas” but applied to explore the entrepreneurial possibilities of the individual.
In the beginning of September, the second module of the WE Health programme brought together women around the topic of “Enabling Change”. At the Technical University in Munich the participants learned about their own decision-making behavior and how to make use of it to drive their own ideas and ambitions. The 2,5 days were complemented with a communication training on how to communicate with self-confidence and several inspirational elements ranging from female speakers to a company visit and a panel discussion.
Lastly, the third module at IESE Business School in Barcelona completed the Capacity Building Programme with a module on “Transforming and Innovating in Health Care”. By building on active learning methodologies, the participants engaged in intense debates on the key issues affecting entrepreneurship and leadership in healthcare. By challenging each other, and sharing knowledge and experiences, the module provided insights to shape the professional future and grow as women innovators and entrepreneurs. A female investor panel and various networking possibilities accompanied the programme. As the last module in 2017 luckily this was not the end.