Welcome, Rural Innovators!

The Women’s Academy for Rural Innovation will take place in Europe’s largest region – Spain’s Castilla y León – from the 23rd to the 28th of October 2022. Participants should prepare themselves for a week to remember!

Here, 15 ambitious women will embark on a journey of discovery. Mornings will be taken up with a combination of panels, workshops, roundtables and masterclasses, while the afternoons will include teamwork sessions. There is also a period of free time every day when participants can relax and reflect on the days’ learning. Every evening, participants will enjoy a traditional Spanish dinner prepared with local produce.

With a line-up of top-level experts and mentors, participants will learn new skills and approaches and have the chance to discuss how new tools could be implemented in their own rural environment. They will learn practical skills such as public speaking and setting up a business which will equip them to get out there and make a difference in their community. We hope that they will make lasting friendships with participants from similar walks of life in other countries.

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Day 1

Participants will arrive and settle into their surroundings. They will explore the area and then meet both tutors and each other for the first time. The programme will then be introduced in more detail and participants will spend their first evening together, getting to know one another over a traditional Spanish dinner.

Day 2

The Inaugural Ceremony will mark the official beginning of The Women’s Academy for Rural Innovation and feature welcome remarks and introductions from some of the key speakers and mentors. Participants will then begin their first activities of the week with Group Work and a Teambuilding session dedicated to Exploring Europe’s Hidden Gems: A taste of Bajo Tiétar. There will also be free time and an evening gathering.

Day 3

The day will begin with a deep dive into New Technologies to Foster Women’s Employment and Competitiveness in Rural Areas. It will be followed by a panel discussion on Empowering Women to Foster Rural Development in the Digital Era. After lunch there will be the first Inspiring Session which will explore a long-term vision for Europe’s rural areas. After some group work and free time, the day will end with a Teambuilding session on Nature’s potential for value creation.

Day 4

Today the focus will be on Entrepreneurship, with a workshop on Securing Funding as a Female Entrepreneur and a panel session on challenges and achievements facing SMEs and Start-ups in rural areas. The afternoon will address Digital Technologies to strengthen Europe’s Farming sector, followed by Group Work. Before dinner, participants will take part in two quite different sessions: the first examining Innovation against gender-based violence; and the second, an opportunity to Disconnect from the world and connect with your inner self through exercise and breathing exercises designed to build strength and alleviate stress.

Day 5

The day will kick off with a workshop on Pitching like a Pro that will give participants practical advice on speaking in public and making an impact. It will be followed by a panel discussion on Agritech, Medtech, Edtech: Innovation for a sustainable future. The afternoon will feature a deep dive on Mainstreaming Equality and Innovation in the Common Agricultural Policy and a Spotlight on The Global Success of Local products. The remaining part of the day will be taken up with Group Work and free time before dinner.

Day 6

The final day will begin with the Group Presentations where participants pitch the projects they will have worked on together all week. There will also be the final Panel session on the subject of Digital Infrastructure for a World of Opportunities: Connecting the Unconnected. Later that day participants will travel to Madrid for the Farewell Gala and Awards Ceremony, where they will receive their certificates and the week-long programme will draw to an official close.