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Interreg Aurora Co-funded by the European Union logo


Closing the Small-Business and Gender Gap through education for green sustainable and competitive growth

Branch: Chemistry and bioeconomy

Duration: 31.12.2023-30.12.2026

Region: International

Financed by: Interreg Aurora ja Lapin liitto

Project Manager: Mira Valkjärvi

The project’s main objective is to develop a cross-border recognized program for green entrepreneurial training directed to women (including women belonging to minority communities, immigrants, and elders) organized in cross-border living labs and online learning platforms based on professional mentoring, sharing of best practices and various online and live events.  

The project aims at supporting green (female) entrepreneurship, specifically micro and small/medium size enterprises (MSMEs), in South/Central Ostrobothnia, Lapland, Norbotten, Troms and Finnmark through several activities such as establishment of 5 Cross-border Living Labs (CLLs), 4 main online training modules (business management, sustainability, innovation and cross-border training) and several correlated professional activities and outputs (such as workshops, webinars, data collections, guidelines, cross-border cooperation tools and field visits). The target group is women at different stages of their entrepreneurial activity i.e., from recent graduates with an interest in starting a green business, via women who are in the development stage of their green business activity (less than 3 years of operation) up to women with a mature business who are interested in improving its environmental sustainability practices.

The project will focus on building and increasing competencies in green and sustainable business management, digital skills, tech and product innovations, organic methods, and cross-border cooperation as well as other topics identified by the needs analysis conducted in the project. The project will adopt an interdisciplinary approach and use the multiplying network of its partners and CLLs to ensure that its outputs are validated to achieve a long-term effect in fostering sustainable, women-led enterprises. A key aspect will be the connectivity and how to create synergies among Nordic women to achieve knowledge and practice sharing. Data produced within the project will be open and FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable). The project’s mission is at large to contribute to resilient, inclusive, smart, and green Nordic societies and bring social and economic benefits.

University of Helsinki, Ruralia Institute (EU Lead)

Sør-Varanger Utvikling AS (Norway Lead)

Inari municipality (FI)

Luleå University of Technology (SV)

Centria University of Applied Sciences (FI)

Lapland University of Applied Sciences (FI)

Kehittämisyhdistys Liiveri ry (FI), Into Seinäjoki Oy (FI)

Arctic Economic Council (NO) 

The project tackles the following themes: sustainability, green transition, circular economy, entrepreneurship, profitable business, female entrepreneurship and sustainable development. 

More information:

Mira Valkjärvi