News Item Default

International event for rural female entrepreneurs

Published: 27/09/2021

Female entrepreneurs from sparsely populated areas in the Highlands and Islands and beyond are invited to join delegates from six countries, online this week (28-30 September).

Kateryna McKinnon

The final W-Power seminar will take place both online and in-person in Joensuu, Karelia, Finland. It will be packed with a range of exciting speakers, workshops and training sessions for delegates to find new collaboration and networking opportunities.

Those attending the three-day event will be from rural parts of Iceland, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Canada and Scotland. They will discuss the challenges and opportunities they face running a business in rural areas.

The three-year W-Power programme’s aims were to overcome the challenges of remoteness and rurality faced by women-led businesses in sparsely populated areas. Forsome, it has been a lifeline before and since the pandemic hit. Many have been supported to develop their approach to online marketing and social media.

The programme was established in 2018 by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) as part of the Northern Periphery Arctic (NPA) programme, to help support female entrepreneurs in rural areas.

In the Highlands and Islands, entrepreneurs from Argyll, Shetland and Orkney have participated in the programme. W-Power helped them to stay connected, share information and ideas about how to get through challenges, as well as providing moral support to each other.

The seminar itinerary includes presentations from Maija Itkonen, one of the creators at Pulled Oats®, a Finnish innovation and ‘vegetarian revolution’; Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, Chair and President of the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (Europe) WEP promoting women as business leaders and owners; Marthe Haugland, Senior Innovation Adviser from Nordic Innovations; and Mr Kim Väisänen, an angel investor with an entrepreneurial background.

All participants can attend as much or as little of the events during these three days. By participating in the final seminar week, they have the opportunity to network with other attendees and find new co-operation opportunities, ideas, customers, and other important contacts.

Kateryna McKinnon, European Manager at HIE, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for attendees to network and meet other likeminded participants, find new co-operation opportunities, ideas and customers. Although not exclusive to women, the W-Power project is about supporting and empowering women entrepreneurs in rural areas.

“We are really pleased that the programme was able to play an important role in our region during an extremely difficult period and would like to thank all our members for keeping the network active and supporting each other.

More information including keynote speakers and to register for the event go to