Report 5 - The Impact of the AWE Programme on Women's Entrepreneurship in France and the UK: Impact Analysis Report

Zoe Dann, Karen Johnston, Caleb Kwong, Tosin Adebola-Akande

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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Abstract

The Accelerating Women’s Enterprise (AWE) project, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), was launched in 2019 and aimed to support disadvantaged women entrepreneurs to create and launch their enterprises. By doing so, the AWE programme intended to address the gender imbalance in enterprise start-ups in the cross-channel region and to alleviate the structural barriers experienced by disadvantaged women entrepreneurs in their entrepreneurial journey.

To achieve its objectives, the project has been divided into two phases: the first phase took place from 2019-2022 and then Phase 2 from 2022 to 2023. This report outlines the impact of the programme on participants (from all phases of the project), based on the responses of 70 participants both in France and in the UK (40 responses to the impact analysis survey and 30 semi-structured interviews). Most of the participants reported a high level of satisfaction with their participation in the AWE programme and mentioned several benefits for their entrepreneurial journey, including:

• Peer-to-peer support
• Increased technical knowledge and skills to scale-up their businesses
(human capital)
• Extending their social networks as well as their market and customer
opportunities (social capital)
• Building their confidence and their sense of accomplishment
(psychological capital)

The participants also provided insights regarding the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses and entrepreneurial journey, as the outbreak occurred during the delivery of the AWE programme. They highlight the key role of digitalisation in their support and coping strategies during the COVID-19 lockdowns which continues to remain an importance facet even when there has been a resumption of onsite face-to-face training.

The impact of AWE programme on women entrepreneurs in France and the UK 2
Finally, from the findings, we make the following recommendations to improve and enhance future programmes like AWE and their positive impact on disadvantaged women entrepreneurs:

• To adopt a holistic approach combining both ‘hard’ technical skill-oriented training and gender-specific ‘soft’ skills training
• To offer tailored support to disadvantaged women entrepreneurs’ specific needs and time commitment
• To offer consistent support over time and specific to the stage of business development
• To apply a gender lens to the curriculum and delivery of programmes to support women entrepreneurs, and to evaluate the programme in support of women entrepreneurs
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAccelerating Women’s Enterprise
Commissioning bodyEuropean Commission
Number of pages40
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2023

Keywords

  • impact
  • enterprise education
  • disadvantage

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