Continuing the legacy of the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Expertise

Thanks to Marla Nelson from the Strategic Women’s Enterprise Project for providing this guest post.

A new initiative has been launched in the West Midlands as a legacy project building on the work and findings of the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Expertise (WECOE).

The Strategic Women’s Enterprise Project is managed by Enterprise Solutions, who will continue to influence, lobby and advocate for the women’s enterprise agenda in the West Midlands region, funded by regional development agency Advantage West Midlands.

The project aims to assist Advantage West Midlands in implementing WECOE policy recommendations, and work with Business Link West Midlands and other key strategic partners to ensure policy and practice is mainstreamed in supporting greater diversity in enterprise and business support across the region.  The 2-year WECOE project completed in December 2009.

To find out more about the Strategic Women’s Enterprise Project, and Enterprise Solutions (MN), contact Marla Nelson at marla@enterprisesolutionsmn.com or call 07515 597 595.

Research on women’s enterprise in the West Midlands

Woman walking through offices at Pump House ShrewsburyIn December 2009, the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Expertise (WECOE) held a dissemination event marking the end of their project on women’s enterprise.

The event gave a platform to a large range of speakers, from ministers of parliament to academic researchers.

Rosie Winterton MP reviewed the progress of government policy in the sphere of women’s enterprise, and indicated future policy directions.

Professor Mark Hart spoke of his work (Women and entrepreneurial activity in the West Midlands: evidence from GEM 2002-08, pdf, 287kb) with data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor which indicates that the primary factor hampering the development of women’s enterprise in the West Midlands is their disproportionate fear of failure. This is an important finding which suggests a clear direction for policy makers to take.

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Tender for women’s enterprise research

Jewellery makingThe Women’s Enterprise Centre of Expertise has released a tender to conduct women’s enterprise research in the West Midlands.

The deadline for submissions is 21st July 2009.

Research rationale

There is currently a gap in regional women’s enterprise research which takes a strategic view of policy, documentary and research evidence, even though much has been done to promote the agenda across the region.

The absence of such a strategic view means that there is potential for women’s enterprise support to be divided into staged programmes (pre-start, start and growth as separate delivery systems).

The consequence of this division is that those programmes that cannot directly be seen to contribute to regional value-added, as they are too small or development, run the risk of losing budget or being stopped altogether because they cannot meet the strict evaluation criteria represented by Gross Value Added indicators.

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