WEgate: supporting women in building their businesses with a clear vision and agility.

A growing number of associations and investors are working to support women entrepreneurs across Europe.

Each of them is helping to spread awareness and key information in the community and offers a gateway to their country’s market to support women across Europe in their entrepreneurial projects.

WEgate is a non-profit association born as a COSME-funded initiative and constituted as a Belgian non-profit association in December 2023. WEgate supports women entrepreneurs (WEs) and organisations, as well as institutions and initiatives supporting WEs in their collective endeavours towards more inclusive business ecosystems where WEs are counted and adequately represented. WEgate is supported by ESBA.


Meet WEgate’s amazing team

Our team is extremely qualified to help your business grow

Eva Merloni | Co-founder

Membership coordinator and partnership manager

Eva Merloni is one of the co-founders of the WEgate association and was the project manager of WEgate for ESBA during its previous stage, as a COSME-funded project.

She is an expert in sustainable and rural development, climate change mitigation and adaptation measures and green transition. With an international master’s degree in Sustainable Local Development and a PhD in Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences and Technologies, she is the President and chief project officer of Area Europa and a senior expert in coordinating European projects (LIFE, Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe, Erasmus+, Interreg etc.) at international level. She is currently the EU projects and international relations manager at the Italian national Agency on Climate Change (Agenzia Italia Meteo).

Laura Mariotti | Co-founder

Advocacy and capacity building manager

Laura Mariotti is an expert in managing social innovation projects, bringing with them concepts such as climate justice, gender equity and the protection of minorities. With a master’s degree in international cooperation for the protection of rights and ethnocultural heritage, she’s a senior EU-projects manager and part of the board of directors of the cooperative consulting Area Europa.

Juliana Carvalho | Co-founder

Research and communication manager

Juliana is passionate about collaboration and communication.  She is an expert in collaborative planning and rights-based policy, passionate about effective and creative communication as a tool to boost sustainability transitions. She is currently a PhD candidate and collaborates as the communication lead for WEgate. Previously, she worked with communication and design projects related to civic-tech and open-data projects at CCM Design, a creative studio based in Canada. She collaborated with the production of data visualisations, online experiences and digital products, in projects of the Open Data for Development Network (OD4D), from the Canadian International Development Research Centre, and the Feminist Open Government Initiative (FOGO), among others. She has also worked as a consultant with the MERCOSUR´s Human Rights Public Policy Institute (IPPDH-MERCOSUR), based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, working under the Research and Information Management Department. Her main activities involved applied research projects that encompass a rights-based approach to inform public policy processes and facilitate international cooperation initiatives, as well as collaborating with the institute’s training programs and publications.

Francesca Passeri | Co-founder

Business development manager

Francesca Passeri is an expert on alternative finance and crowdfunding, with an extensive background on the design and delivery of training courses and incubation programmes for early stage companies. She is a mentor for the Break Fellowship programme, an incubation programme that has supported the establishment of over 1000 women-led companies across the EU. Francesca has a strong track record in the design and management of EU-proposals and projects, with over 14 projects managed since 2016 (Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe, Erasmus+, InterregMed, Urban Innovative Actions).

WEgate supporters and partners

The European Small Business Alliance (ESBA)

The European Small Business Alliance (ESBA) is a non-party political group, which cares for small business entrepreneurs and the self-employed and represents them through targeted EU advocacy and profiling activities.

ESBA is proud to have served as the Project Lead for the COSME Programme Project alongside esteemed partners, including Business Angels Europe, the Foundation for Management and Industrial Research (MIR) North Macedonia, and Professor Thomas Cooney of the Republic of Ireland. ESBA’s collaboration has been instrumental in driving the success of WEgate, born as an online platform dedicated to empowering women entrepreneurs through community engagement and knowledge sharing. Since its inception in February 2020, WEgate has been committed to providing women entrepreneurs with access to valuable networking opportunities, mentorship, and resources for business growth.

As WEgate transitions into an association, ESBA continues to play a pivotal role as a prime supporter, further cementing our dedication to fostering entrepreneurship and gender equality in business.

Before becoming a non-profit association, WEgate was a COSME-funded initiative.

If you want to learn more about the history of WEgate, click here