Title Imagining Growth 2
Project Number UK/12/LLP-LdV/TOI-525
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Country UK-United Kingdom
Imagining Growth 2
We have transferred, developed and tested:
- innovative methodology to drive women's business growth in Europe
- award-winning services to support unemployed women into business ownership
We have also developed
- a blueprint for an international standard for excellence in supporting women-owned businesses.
- a toolkit for developing access to finance networks for women.
• WBDA programmes in the UK have been heavily oversubscribed as we have tapped into significant unmet need.
• Partners and clients identified under-capitalisation and inability to access finance as the main reasons for the failure of women-owned businesses Support to overcome this does not exist in partner countries and is very patchy across Europe.
• Our research highlighted both the lack of business start-up programmes specific to female entrepreneurs and the poor levels of engagement between business support agencies and women.
• Mentoring support for women, if it exists, is not benchmarked to any standard of good practice, nor is training offered and women preferred a transformational rather than a transactional approach to learning.
During our project:
• Created a comprehensive enterprise service for women entrepreneurs,capable of replication across Member States, supporting them from pre-start through to business start up and growth. It is about VET to support women in business. We:
• Delivered innovative investment readiness programmes in 4 countries, UK, Poland, Italy , Spain.
• Created a methodology for women-friendly access to finance networks in any country.
• Developed a blueprint for an international mentoring standard for excellence in supporting women entrepreneurs. This will be exploited after the end of the project.
• Delivered business start-up programmes supporting women facing particular challenges in the UK, Italy, Spain and Poland.
Our consortium was led by the Women’s Business Development Agency. The Polish national Chambers of Commerce and the Turin Association of SMEs (women's section) brought their experience in business support for women. AEFAEMME (the association of organisations supporting women-owned businesses in the Mediterranean basin) and NBJ Associates of Italy offered extensive dissemination routes. Birmingham University Business School provided an independent and academic evaluation of the project.
• Women’s business start up and growth programmes translated into English, Spanish and Polish
• Business mentors and trainers trained in programme delivery
• Blueprint for European quality assurance standard agreed in outline and accreditation agreement reached
Investment readiness programme delivered in UK, Spain, Poland and Italy.
Business Start-up programme delivered in UK, Spain, Poland and Italy
Toolkit for access to finance network for women developed
Website available in English, Spanish, Polish and Italian
• Outreach manual completed
Mentoring manual revised and available in English, Spanish. Italian and Polish
Dissemination activities undertaken in Italy, Spain, Uk, Poland and Belgium
Evaluation of project
Partners wish to remain as a consortium after the end of the project, inviting new organisations to join us. Through this we will gain considerable geographical and strategic reach. As well as meeting and partnering for future bids we will maintain our website which, by the end of the project will offer training, advice, networking and trading opportunities to women in six EU countries.
We believe that our mentoring standard will be highly instrumental in improving and 'mainstreaming' women-friendly business support.
Utilization and distribution of results
Recognition, transparency, certification
Open and distance learning
Access for disadvantaged
Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities
Information and Communication
Financial and Insurance Activities
Human Health and Social Work Activities
Activities of Extraterritorial Organisations and Bodies
open and distance learning
material for open learning
transparency and certification
The project used and adapted materials developed by the Women's Business Development Agency over the last decade. These are for both trainers and clients and include:
- 'Why Women?'. A course for trainers and mentors on the 'transformational' approach to business support,which is needs-led and concentrates on whole person, rather than just the 'transactional' nature of mainstream business support. It also presents the socio-economic rationale for specialist business support to women.
- train the trainer methodology and support materials for all courses
- an award-winning outreach programme to engage women considered hard to reach by mainstream business support
- confidence-building, transferable skills and basic business know-how courses for women,particularly those suffering multiple disadvantage,to help them start a business
- investment readiness course for women-owned businesses with significant growth potential
- a tool kit for building women friendly access to finance networks, financial products and services.
- a standard for excellence in supporting women entrepreneurs.
- a sustainability plan for further development of project objectives.
We intend to commercialise all products. For further information, please contact Sally Arkley at firstname.lastname@example.org