Saturday, 14 November 2009

Glamorgan goes global on Women’s Enterprise Day

Staff from the Women’s Entrepreneurship Hub (Centre for Enterprise) at the University of Glamorgan, will be promoting welsh women entrepreneurs on Women’s Enterprise Day, Wednesday 18th November. The celebration is part of Global Eneterprise Week which takes place from 16th to 22nd November

Marilia Angove, Christine Atkinson and Dr Gary Packham will introduce Carrie Shapiro-Rigg of Carrie Elspeth Ltd and Rebecca Exley of Rebecca Exley Groundwater Ltd to colleagues from Universities and Chambers of Commerce from Paris and Lithuania. There will also be exchanges between the two Welsh women entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs based in Paris and Lithuania. The aim is to create cross European networking and mentoring opportunities.

The visit to Paris is part of a wider collaboration between the partners: “Women’s Entrepreneurship in the European Union (WEEU)”, a high profile project lead by the University of Glamorgan, with the support of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union. The project involves developing teaching materials and approaches relevant to meet the needs and interests of women entrepreneurs across Europe and beyond.

During the last 12 months, focus groups were held with women entrepreneurs in the three partner countries (Wales, Lithuania, France) on: Business Planning, Creativity and Innovation, Social Entrepreneurship, Sustainability and Sustainable Development and Reconciliation of professional, private and family life. A total of 212 aspiring and existing women entrepreneurs took part in discussing these themes. Their views were used as part of the research leading to the development of teaching approaches and materials for courses for women entrepreneurs. The results were piloted during Women’s Entrepreneurship Summer Schools, again in each of the three countries.

Some of the key themes that emerged from the discussion groups were:
  • Many women entrepreneurs felt that business plans are only important if required by an external organisation in relation to a grant or loan application. They are viewed as irrelevant, boring to write and akin to form filling.
  • Many women entrepreneurs ignore or deny their personal creativity but recognise that innovation is important in business as a means of keeping ahead of the game and is especially important now as a means of surviving the economic downturn and capitalising on the upturn. In Lithuania, innovation is viewed as critical to the development of the economy.
  • In Wales, there is a growing recognition among social entrepreneurs that businesses with a social purpose need sound financial structures in order to ensure that they survive beyond the short term. The interpretation of social entrepreneurship varies across Europe.
  • Concern for people and the planet are central values for many women entrepreneurs on a personal level. Some are beginning to make these values core to their business development and some are deriving business benefits from doing so (for example, reduced costs from energy saving and waste reduction; qualifying to be part of the supply chain of larger organisations by meeting their environmental standards).
  • For many women, work life balance issues are the most critical factor in determining the type of business they can set up and the rate of growth they can envisage. Flexible work options are less well developed in France and much less developed in Lithuania.
There will be two return visits by the European partners to Cardiff late in November and early December. Aspiring and existing women entrepreneurs interested in networking and forming mentoring relationships, particularly with the possibility of links with women entrepreneurs in Paris and Lithuania will be able to attend two free half day workshops. For more information or to book a place contact


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