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Evaluation of the W-Power programme

W-Power was a North Periphery and Arctic programme which aimed for equal growth and increase in the contribution of women to the regional economy.

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23/02/2022

Evaluation of the W-Power programme

W-Power was a North Periphery and Arctic programme which aimed for equal growth and increase in the contribution of women to regional economy in sparsely populated Northern and Artic communities. W-Power objectives included the capacity building of women entrepreneurs, improvement of gender-related business advisory services, and encouragement for self-employment in sparsely populated communities.

Summary of Key findings:

  • W-Power has supported female entrepreneurship in remote and rural areas. While many respondents had already started their business journey prior to joining, there were examples where participants pushed forward with their ideas quicker and to a greater extent as a result of the Programme
  • The Programme was deemed to have a number of advantages over more traditional business support programmes including providing a safe space for women, more supportive and relaxed environment, and less egocentric and hierarchical
  • Female only is a valid way of providing a supportive environment for female entrepreneurs, although this approach doesn’t suit all women. The majority of stakeholders and participants viewed it as good starting point for the entrepreneurship journey, allowing women to more safely share concerns and challenges in a collaborative and supportive way
  • W-Power achieved positive economic benefits for a number of participants despite the pandemic. Some respondents had experienced growth in employment and turnover since joining W-Power and were projecting further increases; however, the direct attribution to W-Power was low
  • Feedback from participants and stakeholders on the events and activities was generally positive across range, accessibility, delivery mode, frequency, content and location
  • Overall, the number of women who have been assisted in business development, the benefits that have been achieved through business growth, and the increased business potential that participants now have through their participation is considered very good value for the funding that HIE has contributed towards the Programme
  • The COVID 19 pandemic presented female entrepreneurs with challenges on many fronts, including isolation, childcare and home-schooling responsibilities, business impacts, etc. The W-Power Programme provided a key support to participants at this time, and regular contact with others going through similar challenges was invaluable to the wellbeing of some participants

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