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Female Entrepreneurship in the 21 st Century: The Way Forward Conference Tuesday 26 th September 2006 Dublin, Ireland Dinah Bennett Durham Business School UK. Why focus on women?. Economic imperative -“Expanding the involvement of women in

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Female entrepreneurship in the 21 st century the way forward conference

Female Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century:

The Way Forward Conference

Tuesday 26th September 2006

Dublin, Ireland

Dinah Bennett

Durham Business School

UK


Female entrepreneurship in the 21 st century the way forward conference

Why focus on women?

  • Economic imperative

    -“Expanding the involvement of women in

    entrepreneurship is critical for long-term economic

    growth”

  • Under-representation

  • Different Experience

    -different motivations/ less resources/ longer

    incubation


Female entrepreneurship in the 21 st century the way forward conference

  • Introduction

  • Women’s enterprise development – UK context

  • Barriers

  • Women Into the Network (WIN)

  • Lessons


Some facts

Some Facts

  • Participation of Women in Enterprise is

    significant and rising.

  • Women’s Businesses contribute to

    economic development and job creation

  • No country in the world where women are

    more entrepreneurially active than men.

  • Globally the participation of men starting

    businesses usually 50% higher than women


Female entrepreneurship in the 21 st century the way forward conference

  • More women than before are in the labour force throughout their reproductive years, though obstacles with employment persist.

  • Women experience more unemployment than men and for a longer period of time than men.

  • Women remain at the lower end of a segregated labour market and continue to be concentrated in a few occupations, to hold positions of little or no authority and to receive less pay than men.

  • Available statistics are still far from providing a strong basis for assessing both quantitative and qualitative changes in women's employment.


Female entrepreneurship in the 21 st century the way forward conference

UK Context

  • Women’s enterprise increasingly seen as important

  • Growth of women’s business ownership

  • The gender dimension to barriers recognised

  • A wide range of initiatives aimed at addressing these

  • 2003 Strategic Framework launched


Barriers

Barriers

  • Access to finance

  • Care/domestic responsibilities

  • Lack of knowledge/training in business

    skills

  • Perceptual barriers of credibility


Female entrepreneurship in the 21 st century the way forward conference

Women and their assets for business

Abilities,

skills and

experience

Motivation &

Determination

H

Confidence

S

N

Women

F

P

Idea with a

Market

Resources

Plan and Manage

Index

H – Human AssetsN – Natural AssetsS – Social Assets

P – Physical AssetsF – Financial Assets


Confidence and social capital

Confidence and Social Capital

  • Confidence is:

  • A complex issue

  • Very personal

  • Not exclusively gender specific

  • A relative concept – e.g. business stage

  • Relating confidence and social capital


Social capital critical to business

Social Capital Critical to Business

  • Successful entrepreneurship is about managing relationships with a range of stakeholders (Gibb)

    • Knowing who are the critical stakeholders in your network and why

    • What are these relationships & how are they maintained

  • Business Networking a critical vehicle for building social capital


Female entrepreneurship in the 21 st century the way forward conference

Women Into the Network

  • When - Started in 1999 in the North East of England

  • Why - Low numbers of women in business and research showed 700 networks under utilised

  • Who - Potential and existing women in business & those who support

  • What - Relationship building through networking for women’s enterprise

  • 2000 women members regionally - 24000 nationally


Female entrepreneurship in the 21 st century the way forward conference

WIN –multi layered activities

  • Events –from training workshops to lunches

  • Awards –annual event

  • Communications and Publications –website,

    newsletters, ezines

  • Role models – development & promotion

  • Sectoral initiatives

  • Research

  • Signposting

  • Dissemination


Female entrepreneurship in the 21 st century the way forward conference

Theme - Make Networking Explicit

  • Developing understanding about Networks & networking –

    ‘I hate networking’

  • Easy entry points

  • Rehearsal space

  • Women only or mixed ?

  • Conduit for support sector

  • Brokerage – ‘getting to know spaces’

  • Lobbying for change to existing business networks


Female entrepreneurship in the 21 st century the way forward conference

Mixed Perceptions & Expectations

The banking research as a case study

  • Expectations

    • Women wanted bank to be more proactive and interested in their business. An important stakeholder.

    • Men merely saw the bank as a service provider

  • Bankers - access to their networks ……. but mechanisms & venues used by banks are often not appropriate

  • Training for women to better manage their bank managers & vice versa


Female entrepreneurship in the 21 st century the way forward conference

Assumptions & Impressions

Challenges for effective and trust based

relationship building

  • Assumptions can close off areas of support.

  • Stereotyping - websites women = ‘socially excluded’

  • Home based /portfolio business – diminutive

  • First impressions critical when transaction costs of

    getting to the meeting are high


Female entrepreneurship in the 21 st century the way forward conference

Business support for women:issues for advisers

  • Knowing the customer base – catering for diverse needs

  • Recognition of needs of part-time businesses

  • Assistance from pre-pre start-up through to business growth

  • Accessible services – timing/ transport/ care/ ethnicity

  • Role models


Women into the network a dynamic model for supporting women s enterprise

Women Into the NetworkA Dynamic Model for Supporting Women’s Enterprise

  • Active support – partnership working, public, private & voluntary

  • First three years over 900 jobs created

  • European wide impact through EQUAL funded Accelerating Women’s Enterprise (AWE) Programme

  • Founding board member of PROWESS

  • Selected as UK Best Practice Model for Supporting Women’s Entrepreneurship

  • Awarded Flagship Status by PROWESS National Business Support Organisation for three consecutive years

  • Spinning out 3 UK Regions, Ireland, Croatia, Slovenia and South Africa

  • 2000 members regionally

  • 24,000 members nationally

  • Winner of CBI First Woman Corporate Award 2006


Dinah bennett

Dinah Bennett

  • www.womenintothenetwork.co.uk

  • [email protected]

  • +44 (0)191 334 5497


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