The DIREKT project

Women, who immigrate to Sweden from the countries around the Baltic, have knowledge and experiences that should be utilized in the development of the Baltic region. The intercultural competence has so far been an unused resource. To speed up the growth we would like to contribute with a new viewpoint on what women from Eastern Europe can contribute to the development.

Because of this BalticFem aimed to stimulate networking between women who has immigrated from the “east” and between the women and different actors in the Stockholm region (companies, authorities and non-governmental organisations).

BalticFem regularly organised network meetings, published newsletters and described the development in the project on our website.

The DIREKT-project stood on two legs; an Entrepreneurship team and an Inverted mentorship, held together by a strategic network made up of the different actors on employment in the region. The capacity of the strategic network to utilize the experiences of the project is the key to success.

Background of the project
BalticFem is since long involved in the work for gender equality in the Baltic region. Experiences from the project Kulturkodskompetens (with activities during 2002-2003) were the basis for the DIREKT-project. More information about Kulturkodskompetens can be found in Swedish.

BalticFem has noticed that a large group, mostly young women, are coming to Sweden from the countries around the Baltic, not seldom in hope of a brighter future. As women and immigrants, they face obstacles in the Swedish society not the least because of assumptions existing in the society and the ignorance of these women’s background and resources. The women’s knowledge and experiences should be utilized in the development of the Baltic region.

Entrepreneurship team
BalticFem was to recruit the members of an “Entrepreneurship team” out of the networks of immigrated women we are in contact with today. The Entrepreneurship team then addressed itself to women who are interested in starting their own businesses and/or to work as consulter/adviser to entrepreneurs wishing do business in the countries of the Baltic region. The team was organised in close cooperation with Södertörns Högskola University College and with a linkage to the project E-Team run by the university college. More information regarding E-Team was found on the website www.eteam.nu.

The teamwork was divided into a number of steps, according to the following:

  • periodical meetings in the team to exchange experiences, information and collaboration;
  • workshops and seminars with experts from chosen areas, for example, within marketing, financing and import/export;
  • individual counselling with the support from Södertörns Högskola; and
  • common activities for example identification of business opportunities

Inverted mentorship
BalticFem addressed companies, organisations and authorities interested in learning about and utilizing the cultural competence of the immigrated women from the “East”. The women (the mentors) were ment to function as agents of knowledge regarding their respective countries of origin for adepts in companies, organisations and authorities. In an “inverted mentorship” women with a foreign background are ascribed a valuable competence and become a resource for the participating organisations.

The program included:

  • common activities for mentors and adepts (lectures, seminars, workshops and study visits);
  • regular meetings between mentors and adepts;
  • seminars open to participating organisations regarding ethnical diversity, intercultural competence and the value of communication with the countries around the Baltic; and
  • evaluation of the activities in the program