Founded in France in 1945 at the end of World War II by Yvonne Foinant, the Association quickly spread into other European countries and the 5 continents and has become the pioneer association uniting women business owners from all over the world. In 1955, the German "Vereinigung von Unternehmerinnen " (VvU, later VdU) joined the founding countries.
Today the network includes over 120 different countries and 5 million members from five continents.
The FCEM is a non-profit, non-governmental, non-political and non-sectarian organization whose activities at the national and international level are aimed at promoting women’s entrepreneurial initiative and reinforcing national associations of women business owners through:
- Creating awareness and reinforcing the visibility of women business owners,
- Lobbying and advocating before public and private institutions, policymakers and governments, on issues that impede women’s entrepreneurial potential,
- Promoting solidarity, friendship, cultural understanding and the exchange of experiences and ideas,
- Facilitating the development of business, partnership, and trade,
- Fostering professional growth and business skills perfection,
- Encouraging young women to create enterprise.
As an active lobbying and advocacy body, the FCEM has a consultative status to the United Nations and to the Council of Europe as well as representation before the European Union, the International Labor Organization, the Organisation für Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and sub-organizations of the UN such as the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The FCEM has an annual, international world congress where a German delegation of the VdU also takes part.