Aktuelle Grösse: 75%
About the Association of German Women Entrepreneurs (VdU) – registered association
The VdU was founded by 31 women entrepreneurs in Cologne as the Union of Women Entrepreneurs (Vereinigung von Unternehmerinnen – VvU). They followed the example of French women entrepreneurs, who joined forces establishing a network as early as 1946.
Following the German reunification the association reached full presence across the country. In addition, in 1991 the association was renamed to “Association of German Women Entrepreneurs” (Verband deutscher Unternehmerinnen – VdU e.V.)
1,600 women entrepreneurs are members of 15 state and 15 regional groups.
The women entrepreneurs represent companies of various sizes, the medium enterprise sector dominating, thus representing the structure of the German economy. As the VdU consists of personal memberships, many family names widely known throughout Germany are connected to it e.g. Bauknecht, Hoppe-Ritter and Schweizer (Henkell Söhnlein), to name but a few.
The women entrepreneurs within the VdU generate an annual turnover of about 85 Billion Euros and employ round about 500.000 people. The number of women entrepreneurs has been growing continuously. In 2005 from a total of 4.080.000 self-employed people in Germany 1.288.000, approximately 28%, are women. Most of these women entrepreneurs are active in the services sector (763.000), followed by trade, hospitality and logistics (329.000), production and the building trade (94.000) as well as agriculture and forestry (42.000). In addition, there are 400.000 women freelancers in Germany.
Through the 15 associations at federal state level, the 15 regional associations and the head office in Berlin as well as through the connection to the BDI (Federation of German Industries), the BDA (Confederation of German Employers' Associations) and the DIHK (Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce), the expectations of proximity to the members as well as concrete lobbying on the ground can be met. Our members profit from the association not only through an active internal network, information and personal exchange, monthly meetings in the county associations, the VdU-Card, but also through receiving support with the development and expansion of international activities through the VdU-International team.
Not only experienced women entrepreneurs are within the target group of our association. In point of fact it is our concern to support the exchange between the generations. The possibility to call upon the know-how of the more experienced members is eminently important for the entrepreneurial starters and junior entrepreneurs.
In 2001 members of the VdU created the Käte Ahlmann Foundation for exactly this reason. The Foundation ensures that the need for support and consultancy is provided for at the end of the business start-up phase of many women new entrepreneurs. Qualified and experienced women entrepreneurs – the mentors – support the young entrepreneurs – the mentees – in word and deed for a minimum of one year.
The VdU initiate discussions about female themes and business topics with the view to achieve the interests of the german women entrepreneurs in politics, economy and community. In its role as a critical observer of politics on both local and federal level, the important goals of the association are to influence the opinions and resolutions of the political decision makers, to act as a lobbying instrument representing the interests of women entrepreneurs and to ensure that the professional competencies of the women entrepreneurs are fed into the economic policy processes.