Supporting women in entrepreneurship
Self-assessment

Create Women assessment

Women page one
• Entrepreneurship is promoted as a viable activity for women.• A positive image of women entrepreneurs is created.• The economic impact of women’s entrepreneurship is communicated.• Success stories, role models and entrepreneurship awards are used to showcase women entrepreneurs from a wide variety of backgrounds, with a wide variety of types of businesses.• Active labour market measures include business creation support measures for women. Awareness campaigns should seek to develop positive attitudes towards entrepreneurship and stimulate entrepreneurial intentions. Once there is an overall awareness about entrepreneurship among a population, tailored campaigns should be designed for specific sub-groups. Key activities in awareness campaigns for inclusive entrepreneurship include disseminating positive messages in the media, organising outreach and awareness events, and using awards and success stories to celebrate successful entrepreneurs from various population groups. When promoting women’s entrepreneurship in society, it is important to not only present a positive image of entrepreneurship to women, but also to men. Approaches used by policy makers include role models, success stories and women’s entrepreneurship ambassador networks. read more
• Campaigns, success stories, role models and entrepreneurship awards are used to inspire women and showcase female entrepreneurs from a wide variety of backgrounds, with a wide variety of types of businesses.• Messages are tailored for different profiles of women. • Appropriate messages are used to inform about the role of risk in entrepreneurship.• Appropriate media and online channels are used to reach women. Target populations of inclusive entrepreneurship campaigns are heterogeneous so awareness campaigns should include tailored messages that are delivered through appropriate channels. Common approaches used include promoting success stories and role models, and using awards inspire entrepreneurs by showcasing different profiles of entrepreneurs and different types of entrepreneurship activities. When promoting entrepreneurship to women, policy makers should use different channels to reach different groups of women, including the higher education system to reach young women with high potential business ideas and community organisations to reach groups such as migrants. read more
• Targeted campaigns create peer support for women’s entrepreneurship.• Educators, career advisors, business leaders and society, in general, are supportive of women’s entrepreneurship.• Appropriate media and online channels are used to reach key role models. Key role models have an important role in informing about entrepreneurship and encouraging (or discouraging) entrepreneurship activities. Policy makers therefore also need to reach them with information packages and positive messages. To support entrepreneurship for women, it is important for policy makers to create a positive image of women’s entrepreneurship so that family, friends and colleagues are supportive of women who are interested in business creation. read more
• Entrepreneurship activities by women are presented positively in the mandatory curricula in schooling and there is gender balance in the examples used.• Entrepreneurship education covers a wide variety of entrepreneurship activities and models, e.g. part-time entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship.• Teachers receive training on delivering the entrepreneurship curricula.• Female students are encouraged to consider entrepreneurship as a career path. Formal education presents an opportunity to promote entrepreneurship a large number of youth and young adults. To be effective, teachers need training on entrepreneurship and also need to understand the potential that it can hold for different population groups. Moreover, teaching material should showcase a wide range of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship activities. To encourage young women in entrepreneurship, the education system should showcase women role models in the learning materials used. Young women should also be encouraged to pursue studies in fields where entrepreneurship is a likely career path, e.g. science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). read more
• Monitoring and mid-term evaluations are undertaken to ensure that promotional activities are on-track to reach their targets and objectives.• Promotional activities are adjusted to account for monitoring and mid-term evaluation results.• Ex post evaluations are undertaken to measure the impact of entrepreneurship promotion activities on women and results are reported widely.• Monitoring and evaluation results are reported widely and used to improve awareness campaigns. Monitoring and evaluation are an important part of the policy development process. These activities are often contracted out to leverage specialised knowledge and to maintain the impression of impartiality. When evaluating awareness campaigns for women’s entrepreneurship, it is important to take gender differences in labour market participation and activity levels into account. read more
Women page two
• A strategic plan is available publicly, either as a stand-alone document or as part of a broader policy strategy, e.g. gender equality strategy.• Policy objectives are linked to broader gender equality objectives in employment, economic, and social policies.• Key women’s entrepreneurship stakeholders were engaged early in the development of policy objectives and targets.• Indicators of success and data collection processes have been defined.• A public sector actor is responsible for achieving women’s entrepreneurship policy objectives. Clearly defining policy objectives and targets can improve the implementation of policies and programmes, and help allocate resources. Often these are outlined in a written document such as a strategy or action plan. It is important that policy objectives and targets are informed by research and stakeholder views, and that they are realistic and achievable. In setting objectives and targets for women’s entrepreneurship support, it is important to consult with a range of stakeholders to understand the context and seek buy-in to the policy goals. Policy objectives and targets for women’s entrepreneurship should be set within the context of employment and gender equality policies.read more
• Concrete actions to achieve the women’s entrepreneurship policy objectives are identified.• There is a clear leader for public entrepreneurship support for women.• Responsibility for actions is identified.• Timelines for the concrete actions are identified.• An action plan is available publicly. An action plan can be an effective tool for transforming policy objectives into concrete policy actions on the ground. Action plans for inclusive entrepreneurship typically focus on one target group and identify the actions that will be taken to achieve the policy objectives. While one party should be responsible for the implementation of the action plan, responsibility for each action should be assigned to a ministry, agency or partner. In developing an action plan for women’s entrepreneurship support, it is important for policy makers to secure support from relevant stakeholders including women’s business organisations and to ensure that key actions are consistent with gender equality policies. read more
• Sufficient financial resources have been earmarked to implement the strategy.• Funding sources have been identified.• A tracking system is in place to manage and report on public expenditures related to women’s entrepreneurship support.• There is an appropriate balance between investment in policy and programme development and operational expenditures.• There is budget for the monitoring and evaluation. Financial resources for tailored entrepreneurship policies are limited and should be a central consideration when selecting among policy options. It is important to consider all potential sources, including direct financing, matched financing for non-government actions, and the potential of leveraging in-kind support from the non-governmental sector. Effective financial management should include a tracking system that allows ongoing monitoring of expenditures. In securing financial resources for women’s entrepreneurship support, it is important to use all available funding sources including the European Structural Funds. There is also potential to leverage in-kind contributions from women’s organisations, and business development service providers. read more
• Horizontal co-ordination mechanisms are in-place, e.g. inter-ministerial working group.• Vertical co-ordination mechanisms are in-place, e.g. working groups with policy makers and delivery agencies.• Information on women’s entrepreneurship schemes is shared regularly across public sector actors, and with other relevant stakeholders.• Data and statistics on the take-up and impact of women’s entrepreneurship schemes are shared regularly across public sector actors, and with other relevant stakeholders.• Informal communication is regular and ongoing between all relevant actors. The effective implementation of inclusive entrepreneurship policies and programmes requires co-ordination across the range of ministries, agencies, and non-government actors involved in designing and delivering support measures to ensure coherence and relevance and actions, and to minimise duplication. Mechanisms that could be used include working groups and committees with representation of all of the relevant actors. Success factors include strong leadership and regular communication. In establishing co-ordination mechanisms for the design and delivery of women’s entrepreneurship support, it is important for policy makers to strengthen relationships with women’s organisations and to ensure that there are mechanisms for information sharing across all actors involved in delivering women’s entrepreneurship support. read more
• Promotion is done through women-focused media (e.g. magazines, television) and online platforms used heavily by women.• Organisations that work with women are used to promote entrepreneurship support offers.• Women role models from the various communities are used in outreach. For inclusive entrepreneurship initiatives to be successful, it is critical that the target groups are aware of the available support. Many people from groups that are under-represented or disadvantaged in entrepreneurship (e.g. women, youth, immigrants and the unemployed) are ͞hard to reach͟ and policy makers need to adjust their messages and communication methods to reach these populations. When reaching out to potential women entrepreneurs, it is important to develop messages to reach a range of women entrepreneurs since not all women entrepreneurs have the same motivations and intentions. Partnering with women’s organisations can help reach potential women entrepreneurs. read more
• Support providers have experience in working with women with different backgrounds, experiences and objectives.• Front line staff understand the unique challenges faced by different profiles of women, e.g. gender discrimination, family and household responsibilities. • Front line staff receive communication training to effectively work with different profiles of women. Entrepreneurs from groups that are under-represented or disadvantaged in entrepreneurship (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed) face greater and different barriers to business creation. This calls for support initiatives that are tailored to address the unique barriers faced. To be effective, those delivering support should understand these barriers and be trained to work with the target groups. To improve the delivery entrepreneurship support for women, frontline staff should have appropriate entrepreneurship qualifications and experience, and have an awareness about gender sensitivity issues. It is also important for them to understand the challenges faced by different profiles of women in business creation. read more
• Ex ante evaluations are used to identify areas where policy action is needed, assess the consistency of proposed policy actions with ongoing interventions, identify linkages with other policy actions, and ensure that proposed actions are coherent.• Monitoring and mid-term evaluations are undertaken to ensure that women’s entrepreneurship schemes are on-track to reach their targets and objectives.• Ex post evaluations are undertaken to measure the impact of women’s entrepreneurship policies and the results are reported publicly.• Results of monitoring and evaluation are reported publicly and fed back into the policy development process.• Schemes are adjusted to account for monitoring and evaluation results. Monitoring and evaluation are an important part of the policy development process. When assessing the impact of women’s entrepreneurship support against strategic objectives, it is important for policy makers to consider broader labour market trends and issues, e.g. female participation and activity rates read more
Women page three
• The business registration process requires few procedures.• Regulations have been checked to ensure that women’s entrepreneurship is treated positively.• Electronic business registration and other business-related e-services exist.• Information on administrative procedures is available in clear, gender neutral language.• Licensing and certification schemes do not impede women’s entrepreneurship.• Women can easily obtain individual assistance when dealing with administrative regulations and procedures, e.g. by telephone, in-person or online. Business start-up regulations and procedures can be a significant obstacle to business start-up for many entrepreneurs, especially those from under-represented and disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed). These groups often have low levels of entrepreneurship skills and little experience with regulations and institutions related to business start-up. Policy makers have been simplifying processes and reducing capital requirements in recent years, but more can be done. To ensure that business start-up regulations and procedures do not pose undue difficulties for women entrepreneurs, policy makers should undertake a regulatory impact assessment in consultation with women’s organisations and other relevant stakeholders. read more
• Different profiles of women entrepreneurs have been considered in the development of information products (e.g. websites, brochures) on business creation.• Guidance material on business creation does uses easily understood language and is relevant for the types of businesses that women operate.• Women can access information related to business creation through relevant channels, e.g. schools, online platforms.• Women stakeholders were consulted in the development of material and help disseminate it. The provision of tailored information on business creation and self-employment can facilitate business creation by groups that are under-represented and disadvantaged in entrepreneurship (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed) since it can address their specific needs. In developing tailored information for women entrepreneurs, it is important to ensure that the information is presented in easy-to-understand language and written in gender neutral language. Information should be relevant for the types of businesses that women operate. read more
• Women entrepreneurs are eligible for coverage in all social security schemes, e.g. health insurance, pension schemes, unemployment insurance.• Welfare bridges and other similar measures are promoted directly to women to encourage business creation.• There are incentives for business creation to potential women entrepreneurs, e.g. temporary reductions in social security contributions.• Temporary incentives are phased-out rather than ending abruptly.• Maternity benefit schemes exist for entrepreneurs.• Childcare is easily accessible for women entrepreneurs. • Women entrepreneurs can access social security benefits after a business exit. Social security systems can include both incentives and disincentives for entrepreneurship. Women’s entrepreneurship can be encouraged by ensuring that family and taxation policies encourage labour market activities, including entrepreneurship. It is also critical that women entrepreneurs can access childcare. read more
• Ex ante evaluations are used to identify areas where policy action is needed, assess the consistency of proposed policy actions with ongoing interventions, identify linkages with other policy actions, and ensure that proposed actions are coherent.• Monitoring and mid-term evaluations are undertaken to ensure that regulatory measures that support women entrepreneurs are on-track to reach their targets and objectives.• Regulatory measures are adjusted to account for monitoring and mid-term evaluation results.• Ex post evaluations are undertaken to measure the impact of regulatory measures on women’s entrepreneurship and results are reported widely.• Results of monitoring and evaluation are reported publicly. Monitoring and evaluation are an important part of the policy development process. These activities are often contracted out to leverage specialised knowledge and to maintain the impression of impartiality. When evaluating the impact of regulations on women’s entrepreneurship, policy makers need to assess whether the types of businesses that women operate are disproportionately impacted by regulations. It is also important to examine how women are treated in the broader legal framework, e.g. contract law. read more
Women page four
• Needs assessments are used in the design of policies and programmes that support the development of entrepreneurship skills for women.• Women and women’s organisations are consulted to identify how policy can support the development of entrepreneurship skills. • The needs of different profiles of women entrepreneurs are considered when designing and implementing policies and programmes that develop entrepreneurship skills.• Background research is conducted to provide a solid evidence-based for policy interventions.• Benchmarking and meta-evaluations are used when designing initiatives that aim to develop entrepreneurship skills. A needs assessment should be completed in the initial stage of developing policies and programmes that seek to strengthen entrepreneurship skills. Key activities include gathering evidence on the challenges face in entrepreneurship by people from under-represented and disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed), reviewing the current support offer, and identifying gaps and areas for improvement. When designing training, coaching, mentoring and business development services for women entrepreneurs, a needs assessment should consider various profiles of women entrepreneurs (e.g. part-time entrepreneurs, growth-oriented entrepreneurs). It should be developed in consultation with key stakeholders to understand gaps in the current support offer and areas for improvement. read more
• Dedicated entrepreneurship training is available for women.• Training covers the needs at different points of business development, i.e. pre start-up, start-up, growth, exit.• Risk management and financial literacy are included in training programmes.• Hands-on and interactive methods used in training, e.g. role playing, and simulations.• Trainers have taken entrepreneurship and gender sensitivity training.• Some entrepreneurship trainers are women.• Training programmes offer childcare.• Entrepreneurship training for women has linkages with other entrepreneurship supports, e.g. coaching, mentoring and business financing programmes.• The scale of dedicated entrepreneurship training for women is appropriate. Entrepreneurship training programmes seek to facilitate the acquisition of business management and entrepreneurship skills. In designing and implementing entrepreneurship training programmes, policy makers need to consider the mode of delivery, themes covered, intensity and frequency of training sessions, and whether other supports should be provided with the training. It is important to adjust entrepreneurship training to the needs of different profiles of women since they tend to have different motivations and intentions, and typically operate different types of businesses. Training should be delivered with active learning methods (e.g. games, simulations) and it can be effective to deliver training programmes in partnership with organisations that have experience working with women. read more
• Dedicated entrepreneurship coaching and mentoring programmes for women are available.• Objectives for coaching and mentoring relationships are defined by the entrepreneur and their coach and mentor.• There is a matching mechanism to ensure that there is a “good fit” between the entrepreneur and their coach or mentor.• Entrepreneurship coaches and mentors have taken entrepreneurship and gender sensitivity training.• Some entrepreneurship coaches and mentors are women.• Coaching and mentoring relationships are established for a limited time period to avoid creating dependence.• The scale of tailored entrepreneurship coaching and mentoring for women is appropriate. Entrepreneurship coaching and mentoring is can be an effective but resource-intensive support. The keys to a success coaching or mentoring relationship are the quality and dedication of the coach or mentor, and ensuring a good match with the entrepreneurs. When designing and implementing entrepreneurship coaching and mentoring for women, it is important to build a pool of appropriate coaches and mentors who understand the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. Programmes with a pool of coaches and mentors that are women are often more attractive to women entrepreneurs. read more
• Tailored business development services are not available for women. • Tailored business development services are available for women but are low quality, e.g. service providers are not trained to work with women. • The scale of tailored business development services for women is not appropriate. • Women do not use mainstream business development services. • Tailored business consultancy and advisory services are available for women entrepreneurs.• Business consultancy and advisory services are integrated with other entrepreneurship supports for women, e.g. start-up financing.• There is a system of allocating business consultancy and advisory services to women entrepreneurs with the greatest potential.• Business incubators and accelerators are accessible for women. • Business trainers and counsellors have taken entrepreneurship and gender sensitivity training.• Some trainers and counsellors are women. • The scale of tailored business development services for women is appropriate. Business development services can help entrepreneurs acquire new skills and expand their networks. Most public programmes offer support at no cost, but entrepreneurs also have the option of paying for private sector professional services. Business development services for women should be designed in integrated support packages that are delivered by trainers, coaches and business advisors that have experience working with women entrepreneurs. Take-up can be increased if women are used in the delivery of support. read more
• Tailored entrepreneurship support for women is offered in integrated packages.• Women’s enterprise centres or one-stop shops are used to inform women about the range of options for receiving support.• Entrepreneurship training, coaching and mentoring initiatives refer women entrepreneurs to appropriate sources of finance. Integrated packages of entrepreneurship supports can be more effective than ͞single shot͟ supports since they usually address multiple barriers. When designing and delivering integrated support packages for women, policy makers should ensure that the decision to provide financial support is independent from the training, coaching or mentoring support read more
• Entrepreneurship training, coaching and mentoring, and business development services for women entrepreneurs are delivered by agencies or organisations that have appropriate experience and expertise in working with women.• Support is provided in a flexible manner, including different formats, locations and schedules. The delivery of entrepreneurship training, coaching and mentoring, and business development services for groups that are under-represented and disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed) can be done either through mainstream channels or through approaches that are tailored for the targeted entrepreneurs. Tailored approaches are often more effective but are more costly. In delivering support to women entrepreneurs, policy makers can partner with specialist women’s organisations that have experience in working with women. Take-up of support can be increased if women are used in the delivery of support. read more
• Entrepreneurship training, coaching and mentoring, and business development services are developed to meet the needs of different profiles of women, e.g. graduates in STEM fields, migrant women.• Outreach methods are adapted to different profiles of women. • Different service delivery models are used to effectively support diverse profiles of women. Tailored support programmes are typically more effective than generic measures because they are adapted to address specific needs, but they are more costly to develop and deliver. Women entrepreneurs have different motivations and types of businesses, so training, coaching and mentoring, and business development services offers should match this diversity. Tailored support is typically more effective than generic approaches. read more
• Ex ante evaluations are used to identify areas where policy action is needed, assess the consistency of proposed policy actions with ongoing interventions, identify linkages with other policy actions, and ensure that proposed actions are coherent.• Monitoring and mid-term evaluations are undertaken to ensure that women’s entrepreneurship schemes are on-track to reach their targets and objectives.• Schemes are adjusted to account for monitoring and mid-term evaluation results.• Ex post evaluations are undertaken to measure the impact of women’s entrepreneurship policies and the results are reported widely.• Deadweight loss and displacement effects are measured and reported.• Results of monitoring and evaluation are reported publicly and used to improve entrepreneurship training, coaching and mentoring and business development services. Monitoring and evaluation are important tools for managing public resources and understanding which initiatives have an impact and which do not. When assessing women’s entrepreneurship training, coaching and mentoring initiatives, and business development services, policy makers should collect key performance metrics by gender. Moreover, evaluations should account for deadweight loss and displacement effects. It is important to recognise that entrepreneurship is not suitable for all women so not all who receive support should be expected to go on to start a business. read more
Women page five
• Needs assessments are used to design policies and programmes that facilitate access to start-up finance for women.• Women and women’s organisations are consulted to identify how policy support can address gaps in the availability and accessibility of finance for women entrepreneurs.• The needs of different profiles of women entrepreneurs are considered when designing and implementing policies and programmes that facilitate access to start-up finance.• Background research is conducted to provide a solid evidence-based for policy interventions. • Benchmarking and meta-evaluations are used when designing finance measures. A needs assessment should be undertaken at the beginning of the policy development cycle. When assessing the gaps in the availability and accessibility of finance for entrepreneurs from under-represented and disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed), policy makers need to conduct research, surveys and consultations to understand the financing needs and assess how the current finance support measures are meeting entrepreneurs’ needs. Assessing how policy can address the start-up financing needs for women entrepreneurs requires consideration for various profiles of women (e.g. part-time entrepreneurs, graduates in STEM fields), as well as their motivations and types of business activities. It is important to consult with women entrepreneurs and representatives for the financial sector to identify and address gaps in the current suite of financing offers. read more
• A range of financial instruments is used to support women in business start-up, e.g. loan guarantees, microfinance, risk capital.• Different profiles of women entrepreneurs can access to start-up financing offers.• The private sector is involved in the selection of business ideas that receive financing.• Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms for women are promoted and supported. • Only business ideas with a reasonable chance of success are supported.• Innovative business ideas (but not necessarily technology-related ideas) are favoured for support. • The scale of financing support offered is appropriate.• There are initiatives to increase the role of women in investment decisions by financial institutions and to increase the number of women investors. Entrepreneurs from under-represented and disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed) face greater challenges in accessing start-up financing, often due to a lack of collateral and credit history. Therefore, it is common for policy makers to introduce tailored schemes to help entrepreneurs, loan guarantees, microfinance and a range of alternative instruments and markets. To facilitate access to start-up financing for women entrepreneurs, policy makers should ensure that financing initiatives match the needs of women entrepreneurs and are appropriate for the types of businesses that women operate. read more
• A range of financial instruments is available to support the development and growth of women-operated businesses, e.g. loan guarantees, microfinance, risk capital.• Different profiles of women entrepreneurs can access financing for business development and growth. • Lending laws and financial sector regulations ensure sufficient investor protection and transparency on business projects.• The private sector is involved in the design or management of financing mechanisms. • The scale of financing support offered is appropriate. • There are initiatives to increase the role of women in investment decisions by financial institutions and to increase the number of women investors. Business development and growth often require external financing to finance new equipment, staff and location. To support women entrepreneurs in accessing finance for business development and growth, policy makers should ensure that financing initiatives are appropriate for women entrepreneurs. Public policy can also educate the financial sector on gender biases in lending decisions. read more
• Business angel networks dedicated to investing in women entrepreneurs are supported and encouraged, e.g. tax incentives, subsidised operating costs, public co-investment.• The private sector is involved in the design or management of financing mechanisms. • Training is offered to investors to teach them about the potential of women, and to address potential gender biases in lending and investing decisions.• Training is offered to women to improve investor readiness.• Public infrastructure to improve matchmaking between women entrepreneurs and investors exists. • The scale of support for risk capital measures and business angel networks is appropriate.• There are initiatives to increase the role of women in investment decisions by financial institutions and to increase the number of women investors. High growth firms require large injections of capital to fuel the rapidly expanding business activities, often coming from business angel or venture capital investment. Very few entrepreneurs require this type of financing but it is possible for entrepreneurs from under-represented and disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed) to need this type of investment. For women entrepreneurs, policy makers should educatethem on the pros and cons of risk capital, and offer training on how to pitch business ideas to investors. It is also important to address gender biases in investors’ financing decisions. read more
· • Tailored entrepreneurship support for women is offered in integrated packages.• Women’s enterprise centres or one-stop shops are used to inform women about the range of options for receiving support, including developing entrepreneurship, financial, and management skills. • There is an effective referral system to refer women supported through business financing initiatives to non-financial supports, e.g. training, coaching and mentoring.• Financing measures also refer women entrepreneurs to appropriate training, coaching and mentoring, and business counselling. Business financing schemes that include entrepreneurship training, or coaching and mentoring are often more effective because they help equip entrepreneurs with the skills needed to effectively use the financing received. When supporting women entrepreneurs with integrated support packages, policy makers should offer financial support incrementally and emphasise individual coaching, mentoring and business consultancy. Non-financial supports are often most effective when delivered by women. Policy should also favour innovative ideas to minimise displacement effects. read more
• Business financing offers for women entrepreneurs are delivered by agencies or organisations that have appropriate experience and expertise in working with women.• Support measures are accessible to women entrepreneurs. • A database of financing programmes and opportunities is available to women entrepreneurs. For business financing support to make an impact, it is important that it reaches the targeted entrepreneurs. Therefore, it is imperative they the financing is delivered through the most appropriate channels. In delivering business financing to women entrepreneurs, policy makers should work with specialist organisations to conduct outreach and/or deliver the support. It can also be effective to ensure that women are involved in the delivery of support. read more
• Ex ante evaluations are used to identify areas where policy action is needed, assess the consistency of proposed policy actions with ongoing interventions, identify linkages with other policy actions, and ensure that proposed actions are coherent.• Monitoring and mid-term evaluations are undertaken to ensure that women’s entrepreneurship schemes are on-track to reach their targets and objectives.• Schemes are adjusted to account for monitoring and mid-term evaluation results.• Ex post evaluations are undertaken to measure the impact of women’s entrepreneurship policies and the results are reported widely.• Deadweight loss and displacement effects are measured and reported.• Results of monitoring and evaluation are reported publicly and used to improve start-up financing offers. Monitoring and evaluation are important tools for managing business financing schemes and understanding which initiatives have an impact and which do not. When assessing financing schemes that support women entrepreneurs, it is important to assess the differential impact made by the financing initiative. This should include the impact of non-financial support, and account for deadweight loss and displacement effects. Evaluations should also investigate selection biases that discriminate against women entrepreneurs. read more
Women page six
• Needs assessments are used to design policies and programmes that support the development of entrepreneurship networks for women.• Women and women’s organisations were consulted to identify how policy support can address gaps in women entrepreneur networks. • The needs of different profiles of women are considered when designing and implementing policies and programmes that build entrepreneurship networks.• Background research is conducted to provide a solid evidence-based for policy interventions.• Benchmarking and meta-evaluations are used when designing networking initiatives for women entrepreneurs. A needs assessment should be undertaken at the beginning of the development of any inclusive entrepreneurship networking initiative. When assessing the gaps in the availability and accessibility of entrepreneurship networks for entrepreneurs from under-represented and disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed), policy makers need to conduct research, surveys and consultations to understand how current networks are meeting entrepreneurs’ needs. Assessing how policy can address the needs for women entrepreneurs, policy makers should identify existing women’s entrepreneurship networks and work with women entrepreneurs and women’s organisations to understand the strengths and weakness of these. read more
• There is awareness about female entrepreneurship among mainstream business networks.• There are public initiatives that link women entrepreneurs with relevant mainstream business networks, organisations and associations to expand their networks, including women’s enterprise centres.• Referrals to networks consider the needs, objectives and profile of the women. Different profiles of entrepreneurs will likely operate different types of businesses, and will have different motivations and aspirations. These will all shape the role that entrepreneurship networks have in supporting their business. In supporting the development of entrepreneurship networks for women entrepreneurs, it is important to promote networks in partnership with women entrepreneurship ambassadors and women’s business organisations. read more
• Publicly-supported women’s entrepreneurship networks raise awareness about available entrepreneurship supports.• Networks members are referred to a wide range of entrepreneurship support services. Entrepreneurship networks can help individual entrepreneurs access a range of resources, including identifying professional business supports. To effectively connect entrepreneurs from under-represented and disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed) with entrepreneurship support organisations through entrepreneurship networks, policy makes need to ensure that partnerships are built with support organisations. To connect women entrepreneurs with professional support services through entrepreneurship networks, it is important for policy makers to build partnerships with support providers that have experience in delivering support to women and have women among the frontline staff of mainstream entrepreneurship organisations. read more
• A person is responsible for engaging network members; ideally a women.• Network members feel a sense of ownership over the network and actively contribute to network activities.• There are regular opportunities for face-to-face and online interactions. • Newsletters are used to maintain regular contact with network members. To ensure that network members can maximise the benefits of being in the entrepreneurship network, active participation is needed. To effectively animate women’s entrepreneurship networks, policy makers should ensure regular engagement with members through regular events and information / newsletters. read more
• Online platforms are used to expand the reach of the women’s entrepreneurship networks.• Online platforms and communities connect experienced women entrepreneurs with potential entrepreneurs from similar backgrounds. • Appropriate matching mechanisms are used to connect women entrepreneurs with more experience entrepreneurs.• Use of online networking platforms is monitored to verify take-up among women. Online platforms allow entrepreneurship networks to have a greater reach than networks that rely on face-to-face interactions. They also offer greater flexibility for how members engage with each other. However, there is a danger that this flexibility will lead to a lower level of commitment to the network and therefore less engagement. To be effective, online networks need strong management and outreach to keep members engaged. To maximise the potential benefits of online entrepreneurship networks for women, it is important to ensure that online networking platforms are promoted to women through appropriate channels. read more
• Ex ante evaluations are used to identify areas where policy action is needed, assess the consistency of proposed policy actions with ongoing interventions, identify linkages with other policy actions, and ensure that proposed actions are coherent.• Monitoring and mid-term evaluations are undertaken to ensure that women’s entrepreneurship schemes are on-track to reach their targets and objectives.• Schemes are adjusted to account for monitoring and mid-term evaluation results.• Ex post evaluations are undertaken to measure the impact of women’s entrepreneurship policies and the results are reported widely.• Results of monitoring and evaluation are reported publicly and use to improve networking initiatives. Monitoring and evaluation are important tools for understanding the impact and effectiveness of inclusive entrepreneurship networks. When assessing women’s entrepreneurship networks, it is important to assess the impact on women entrepreneurs’ businesses, as well as estimating the impact on stimulating new entrepreneurship activities. Evaluation results should be used to adjust entrepreneurship networks to reflect the needs and uses of members. read more

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