W-POWER (Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in sparsely populated Northern communities):
W-Power aims for equal opportunities and an increase in the contribution of women to the regional economy in sparsely populated Northern and Arctic communities. The project supports rural businesses by providing transnational learning and capacity building possibilities, also creating new business concepts and support mechanisms. W-Power creates and develops new start-ups and supports existing SME´s during their growth phase. In addition, business advisory bodies will receive new tools for gender-sensitive coaching and diversity management. In more detail, the project objectives include capacity building of women entrepreneurs, improvement of gender-related business advisory services, and encouragement for self-employment in sparsely populated communities.
The overall goal of the project is to promote women entrepreneurship. Both on European Level and in the Interreg NPA Programme Territory, female creativity and entrepreneurial potential remain underexploited for economic growth and jobs creation. Against this background, W-POWER develops the following outputs:
- Regional forums for empowering women entrepreneurship: The project establishes such forums, which shall continue improving the regional business environment after the end of the project. In addition to SMEs and business advisory bodies, representatives of administration, education & research, and civil society will be engaged in the forum.
- A model and guidelines for transnational learning and capacity building of women entrepreneurs based on regional and sectoral strengths: This will include upskilling in regional and multicultural teams, networking across sectoral borders and an interregional peer-to-peer mentoring scheme for women entrepreneurs.
- A gender-sensitive coaching concept (model and tools) to help business advisory bodies confront existing and potential women entrepreneurs in their business services: The coaching concept will include aspects of diversity management and, thus, help the business advisors to better support different demographic groups. Women entrepreneurs in project regions, already running a business or willing to start one, will also be encouraged to benefit from the model and tools developed.
- Innovation platform for new pre-start-ups: The project will create an innovation platform. Regional practices will be refined to a joint model, which enables new innovations with high business potential. The platform consists of a clearly defined structure, design and code of conduct, making it easily transferable to different frameworks. It is especially suitable for knowledge-intensive businesses, e.g. as an innovation tool for higher education students who are interested to develop their skills towards entrepreneurship.