Key Topics

“Their Unique Role Allows Women to Present Multi-Faceted and Invaluable Solutions”- Interview with Milena Stoycheva about Women in Urban Mobility

Milena 3
13 October 2021
Female Entrepreneurship

Women in Urban Mobility is a joint project of UnternehmerTUM, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, CARNET Barcelona and Junior Achievement Bulgaria, funded by EIT Urban Mobility. The core team collaborates on urban mobility topics, bringing their passion and pooled knowledge to empower women. We wanted to know from Milena Stoycheva from JA Bulgaria what drives her in this project and how she wants to promote the female share in mobility planning.

Milena, please shortly present yourself and your company and write about your main goals for the project.

I am an entrepreneur and the CEO of Junior Achievement (JA) Bulgaria. I am also a guest professor in innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) for the EIT Digital Master School. I have more than 20 years of experience working in international organizations, including in the role of chair for the global member council of JA Worldwide, and as a senior expert on the subject of higher education at JA Europe.

What motivated you to participate in “Women in Urban Mobility”?

I have made it my mission to promote the importance of entrepreneurial education to society and to help young people develop their talents, and to actively create their own future.

Urban mobility is a subject where many topics intersect – it is a systemic node through which multiple areas of life for city residents can be positively impacted. The future development of urban mobility should be directed towards making mobility itself more accessible and comfortable, while reducing negative environmental and health impacts.

We are also interested in creating entrepreneurial opportunities for young people, especially women, to generate the creative innovations that will solve the most acute problems in urban mobility. To achieve this, we believe it is necessary to generate visibility and understanding of the topic – to make urban mobility a well-recognized field of work for entrepreneurs, where, with the support of the public sector, they can create solutions.

Why do you think the gender perspective is important for urban mobility?

It is important to work on creating a holistic perspective on the subject of urban mobility. This perspective must involve women, due to their rich, combined roles as parents, professionals and citizens in urban life. Their unique role allows women to present solutions that are multi-faceted and invaluable to the overall subject. For example, one of the areas of work that women could significantly impact in a positive way is work-life balance in urban settings, as it relates to mobility.

3. Which challenges do you see in Sofia with regards to urban mobility?

One of the mobility challenges we would like to work on in Sofia is to support the creation of start-ups led by women, creating a better gender balance in the sector, spotlighting more role models and opportunities for the next generation of female entrepreneurs.

Sofia also needs better commuting solutions and opportunities, aimed at relieving the chronic traffic issues that the city suffers from. This challenge is particularly difficult due to its intangible cultural component – people often prefer to use personal vehicles even when safe and green alternatives exist, due to a perceived prestige in owning and using a car. Issues of this kind highlight that we need more than a technological approach that aims to digitize and connect everything - we believe that raising awareness on the subject and working towards cultural change through the framework of this project will be crucial to solving Sofia’s mobility challenges.

Thank you very much for the interview!

Women in Urban Mobility regularly offers exciting meetups and workshops, e.g. on October 20 on the topic of "Female Leadership". Be part of it!