The project “IMPULSA: Support for Self-Employment and Microcredits” is an initiative created within the employment area of the Spanish Red Cross aimed at supporting entrepreneurs with additional difficulties in the process of creating and consolidating their business projects.
The project is aimed at supporting people in a situation of social vulnerability that have previous skills and interest in starting a business idea through self-employment. Since its creation, the project has worked with more than 16,000 people interested in entrepreneurship and has supported the creation and consolidation of more than 1,700 microenterprises.
There are significant inequalities in the labour market that are manifested in gender gaps which prevent many women from obtaining a stable and high-quality job; in order to to have a decent life. This situation also affects other groups such as immigrants, people over 45, young people and the long-term unemployed.
Many of these people have entrepreneurial skills and have the experience and/or motivation to create their own business. Therefore, self-employment is an important alternative to create valuable jobs that allows them to achieve both stability and development of their professional potential. This alternative also benefits greatly the economy and the society, considering that each new company generated provides more wealth and employment.
There is an increasing number of people who consider the possibility of creating a micro-business, due to the need to find and/or be able to get a stable job and, due to the opportunity to start an entrepreneurial process. However, the experience and the context show that a significant number of people never get their business ideas off the ground as a cause of the significant difficulties and conditioning factors that they encounter on their entrepreneurial journey.
Based on these facts, the aim of the project from the outset has been to achieve a positive impact in order to help entrepreneurs who find it more difficult to set up and consolidate their businesses. The project has a particular impact on reducing the existing gender gaps in entrepreneurship, encouraging the participation and creation of companies lead by women entrepreneurs.
Technical details & Operations
In terms of the intervention with people, the methodology of the project is based on the development of labour insertion itineraries through self-employment, in 4 perspectives: gender, competence, digital and diversity management.
The project works mainly with women interested in entrepreneurship, developing actions to empower entrepreneurship and providing solutions to specific difficulties that women face in entrepreneurship. Such as, lack of networks, lack of female role models, difficulties in accessing credit, lack of certain entrepreneurial skills, lack of knowledge of the business market, lack of knowledge of the different procedures and obligations to create a micro business, lack of knowledge of how to develop a business plan, among others.
The women and participants receive a series of interventions from the project as part of their self-employment itinerary;
- Information and activation for self-employment.
- Diagnosis and strengthening of entrepreneurial skills.
- Definition of the business idea and development of the business plan.
- Formalities and procedures for the start-up of the business.
- Mediation with financial entities to find financing.
- Training in entrepreneurial skills in business management and marketing.
- Specific and personalised business consolidation sessions.
- Support with the application for available grants and subsidies.
- Support for the dissemination and promotion of the business.
IMPULSA has a series of tools to boost the self-employment itinerary, which are available on the web;
- Once a month, online webinars called DIRECT TOWARDS SELF-EMPLOYMENT, where different professionals provide key information for the creation and/or consolidation of small businesses.
- Self-employment orientation tips, where people can receive online a summarised and practical orientation of the most important parts to create and develop a self-employment project.
- Interactive infographics where people have the opportunity to consult all the practical information for entrepreneurship in a graphic and visual way.
- Videos of women entrepreneurs who have created their businesses thanks to the project and where they share their success stories. This is a way of empowering women entrepreneurs by observing other women with similar circumstances who have been able to develop a self-employment project.
- Animated videos, where people receive advice and key information on how to manage their small businesses in a visual and entertaining way.
- Digital directory of companies, where the people supported by the project can advertise their businesses free of charge in the online world and where they are encouraged to establish commercial relations with each other.
- The IMPULSA SELF-EMPLOYMENT AWARDS initiative, which offers a platform for the dissemination of business initiatives created by the project and through which people can obtain direct financial aid for their businesses in areas such as equipment, merchandise, rentals, marketing, etc.
- IMPULSA project website, where entrepreneurs can access and use all the tools mentioned above, as well as having a space for news and direct contact with the project’s technical staff and volunteers.
Deployment & Impact
Since its creation, the project has had a positive impact on more than 16,000 people, 60% of them women with an interest in entrepreneurship. These people have been able to receive the information and advice they need to recognise self-employment as a real opportunity despite their context of socio-economic vulnerability and a series of very significant difficulties in order to be able to start up a business.
Since 2007, the project has supported more than 1,700 people in defining and realising their business ideas through self-employment. These businesses have been supported in their creation and consolidation, making possible a series of stable incomes that have facilitated the generation of a decent livelihood for their families.
As an example, in 2022, IMPULSA worked with 1,722 people, 64% of whom were women entrepreneurs, promoting the creation and/or consolidation of 665 self-employment initiatives. In 2022, 48 training actions were carried out in business management and marketing that enabled 526 people to improve their technical skills, enhancing their skills for self-employment and thus the possibility of success of their business initiatives.
The most vulnerable people, due to their background and context, are the group with the greatest difficulty in accessing credit, even more so if the objective is to develop an enterprise. For this reason, since the project in 2022, the amount of microfinance offered to entrepreneurs has increased by 20%, thanks to the agreement with the financial institution MICROBANK, providing more than €1,800,000 in microcredits to the people involved.
The self-employment initiatives supported, were mainly developed in the legal form of self-employment in large towns in Spain and in sectors such as the hotel and catering industry (36%), commerce (20%), health and beauty (16%), logistics and distribution (3%), construction (2%), logistics and distribution (3%), educational and cultural activities (2%), green economy (2%) and new technologies (1%).
In the last year the project has been placing emphasis on the development of business initiatives in rural environments and through forms such as worker cooperatives. Proof of this is the third edition of the IMPULSA EL AUTOEMPLEO AWARDS with a specific section to support self-employment in rural areas, an initiative that is completely linked to the project.
Finally, as means to highlight how entrepreneurs are offered digital tools that support their self-employment process regardless of their environment and geographical area, they are online tools that are easy to consult, use and make use of. Direct contact with the project’s technical staff and volunteers is facilitated through a specific section on the website, where the aforementioned digital tools are also housed, all of which are open and accessible to anyone.