To what extent has the Strategic Framework Women's Enterprise document altered the environment for female entrepreneurship in the UK?

Richardson, Yvonne (2008) To what extent has the Strategic Framework Women's Enterprise document altered the environment for female entrepreneurship in the UK? MBA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    This research explores and examines key issues in an academic context based around The Strategic Framework for Women's Enterprise (SFWE) policy document launched in May 2003. This framework document represented the first coordinated and collaborative approach to tackle the issues which should assist more women to become entrepreneurs and help others to grow existing businesses. Selected literature that addresses barriers identified to women's enterprise is reviewed, and issues of sustainability, disaggregated data, high growth firms, conversion rates and education are also discussed. Women's enterprise has been a topic of much consideration in recent years, and this research takes an in-depth look at what has occurred from 2003 to 2007 as a result of the implementation of the SFWE, with the renewed focus and attention given by the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and the Business Link Operators (BLOs). The aims of the research were to: 1. Identify how the policy and programming formulated for women entrepreneurs and aspirants in light of this document has developed; focussing on the RDAs and BLOs. 2. Evaluate the literature that followed the publication of the SFWE to ascertain changes in influence. 3. Clarify and see how the SFWE has developed from 2003 to 2007 and to identify if the environment for female entrepreneurship in the UK has changed. Identify if the programming is up to date and sufficiently modernised to be sustainable for the future This research has addressed the following questions: 1. What policy and programme outcomes at the local, regional and national level can be seen as a result of the implementation of the SFWE? 2. From which organisations have responses particularly been noted? Why have some organisations taken up the challenges of the SFWE and others shown less interest? 3. Which policy recommendations of the SFWE appear to have been abandoned? Which areas might be forging ahead? 4. Considerable focus was put on disaggregation of Government and other statistics by gender in the SFWE. To what extent is this now possible, and what do figures or any new analysis tell us? The main contribution of this research is its focus on the opinions, experiences and recommendations of stakeholders including policy makers, consultants, and RDA and BLO staff responsible for women's enterprise around the UK, so that an assessment can be made of the coherency and maturity of the SFWE. Primary data was gathered from semi-structured interviews, and key themes have been extracted from this data. The research shows that the SFWE's initiatives and approach are sound and relevant but that work has yet to be completed. Areas where further research is indicated include: childcare provision, 'do we need it' (interviewee 2008); and the effects of immigration in the UK. In the US women's enterprise has to a large extent been driven by women immigrants, Pearce (2005). Additionally the need for mentoring and coaching was highlighted by a number of interviewees, though no supporting academic evidence for a need specific to women was found in the course of the review of literature. The research concludes that there is a need to consider the following factors from a gender perspective in the delivery and design of the next stage of the SFWE: * Cross cutting approach to gathering accurate disaggregated data: * properly organised data for VAT registration * evaluation of high growth firms and relevant support * collection of data from all organisations using business support to target the right women, especially in the Black Minority and Ethnic Business sector where the data is currently scarce and help women come off benefits by understanding their capital needs * Emphasis on mentoring and coaching to increase current conversion rates, and sustainability * Monitoring and benchmarking of BLOs for the next stage of the SFWE * Entrepreneurial education within schools * Facility to capture new and emerging ideas outside the framework * Pursue active engagement with other organisations, such as Institute of Directors, Chambers of Commerce The research has shown that the evolving structure for women's enterprise has a robust foundation of policy and guidance, therefore these recommendations have been made to improve the operation and ensure that the next stage of the Strategic Framework for Women's Enterprise is sufficiently modernised and updated for the future.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Portsmouth Business School > Operations and Systems Management
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:14

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