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Within the Community engagement task, we decided to hold a barcamp on women entrepreneurship.

A barcamp is an event in which participants are actively involved and decide on the content of the workshop. Participants offer to work on topics that are important to them (related to the barcamp theme) and then form discussion groups depending on each and everyone's preferences and affinities. The barcamp format is relevant regarding Community engagement goals : laying the foundation for a community with the potential for long-term involvement and development. We selected women entrepreneurship topic but you can of course hold barcamps on different topics.

We decided to open this workshop with 4 inspiring women entrepreneurstalking about their own experiences. A barcamp usually ends on a collective recap, in our case we exchanged on key initiatives identified to create a better enabling environment for women entrepreneurs


  • Post-its
  • Papers
  • Canvas to be filled by the teams
  • Pens & markers
  • Camera for documentation
  • Furniture (sofas, tables and chairs)
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Data & Image consent forms to be signed by the participants
  • Optional : an exhibition with figures on inclusive entrepreneurship


We recommend at least 3 facilitators for 20 participants to run the activity. Indeed, it is nice that facilitators participate in all discussion groups (there will be at least 3 or 4 groups with 20 participants). In addition, 3 facilitators can better share the roles (presenting the workshop, documenting, facilitating).


  • Contact some inspiring entrepreneurs you would like to invite. We recommend a ratio of 4 entrepreneurs for 15 participants.
  • Plan a call with these entrepreneurs to discuss about the workshop, and the themes they would like to talk about during their presentation (including gender related topics)
  • Find a place to host the event
  • Communicate on your event (on social media)
  • Prepare your oral interventions : introduction, questions to the invited entrepreneurs, and conclusion.
  • Print out team canvases and exhibition pictures if you plan to
  • Get some drinks and snacks
  • Prep the room (chairs table…)


1 - Introduction (15 min)

2 - Entrepreneurs' testimonials (15 min)

3 - Barcamp (30 min)

4 - Conclucion (15 min)

1 - Introduction (15 min)

Plan 15 minutes so that all participants arrive and seat. Offer them drinks and snacks. You can display an exhibition related to your Barcamp theme in order to sensitize participants and give them topics ideas. Example of exhibition posters Example of exhibition poster during makesense's Barcamp on women entrepreneurship

Opening of the workshop : present your lab, the goals and frame of the workshop (agenda, safe and creative space). You can close your introduction with an icebreaker so that all participants get to know each other.

Icebreaker idea : the participants walk inside the room and when facilitators clap their hands, they should go to the person that they know the least and have 3 minutes to find as many common points as possible. Repeat this 1 or 2 times depending on the number of participants and the time you have.

Ice breaker during Makesense Barcamp on women entrepreneurship - France, September 2021 Icebreaker during makesense's Barcamp on women entrepreneurship - France, September 2021

2 - Entrepreneurs' testimonials (15 min)

Ask the invited entrepreneurs to present their entrepreneurial journey and any gender related topics they encountered. To keep an informal and safe atmosphere, you can make participants sit on sofas, and the entrepreneurs can place themselves inside the group, not on a "reserved" sofa.

If you have more time, you can ask entrepreneurs to share a memorable step in their journey (a challenge, a success…).

3- Barcamp - (30 min)

One facilitator explains the barcamp rules : this activity is collaborative so it is your participants’ time to express. They can offer to work on topics that are important to them (related to the barcamp theme) and then form discussion groups depending on each and everyone's preferences and affinities. These themes can be related to obstacles women face, to the positive sides of being women entrepreneur, or to entrepreneurship itself. To encourage participants to come up with ideas, the facilitator can give an example of a theme, which can be a conversation topics if participants like it.

Once you have at least 3 to 4 topics, you can ask the participants that proposed the theme to go to the room corners. Other participants can join the group they are interested in. Each group then goes to its table with a canvas and posts it. The groups should share and find solutions related to the theme. For instance, one topic can be Money, and the solutions mentioned can be some specific financial help entrepreneurs can receive. The canvasses help them to stay on track and be solution-oriented, but are not mandatory to fill. You can advise groups to start their discussion with a roundtable of presentations, and sharing their experiences related to the topic. Facilitators switch between groups and answer their potential questions.

Example of Canvasses for barcamp groups Example of Canvas for barcamp groups

4- Conclusion - (15 min)

Participants come back with the whole group. Each group presents its ideas. Other participants can react and add other elements.

Finally, the facilitator can congratulate all participants and present the project, explaining the opportunities they can have (activities, being helped, being an ambassador…).

Additionnal material : example of message for invited entrepreneurs

Hello (entrepreneur name), My name is (your name) and I am working at (lab name). I am working on the project, a European initiative empowering future female innovators of the sustainable fashion industry through inspiration, skills and networks. On the (date of your barcamp), we organize a barcamp on women entrepreneurship. We are looking for entrepreneurs like you willing to share their journey, would you be interested ? Format : A barcamp is a participant-led workshop. Participants build the themes of the workshop. Participants : Women entrepreneurs and citizens interessed in women entrepreneurship. Goals : Imagine a better enabling environment for women innovators. Exchange with other participants in an informal way.
Practical information : (date and place of your barcamp)
(Concluding your email)

Last update: August 3, 2022