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AWE - Accelerating Women’s Enterprise

Partnership information


Women workingAim

The Accelerating Women's Enterprise Development Partnership (AWE) brought together a number of leading agencies in women's enterprise development, spanning the English regions. The overarching aim of the project was to develop a programme of activities and interventions, to ensure that mainstream business support was developed to meet the needs of excluded groups of women.

  • To strengthen support activities for women’s enterprise through the establishment of networks and networking for developing and sharing best practice

  • Establishment of an effective promotion and awareness raising strategy and programme for women’s enterprise development

  • Production, delivery and dissemination of a range of learning materials and activities for effective development of women’s enterprise

  • Establishment of an effective programme of research and policy development work which informs better knowledge and understanding of women’s enterprise (in England, the UK and Europe)

Women's enterprise development was a strategic priority of the Government Women's Unit and the Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) PAT 3 Report identified 'a need for a systematic identification and promotion of best practice across the different organisations providing business support, and the aggressive pursuit of higher standards.’

Target Beneficiary groups

The target group this DP aimed to assist was existing and potential women entrepreneurs. Importantly the following excluded groups of women were targeted for assistance and support: 10% women with disabilities; 15% ethnic minority women; 25% rural women; 20% young women; 10% third age women (ie. 50 years +), 75% urban women; 50% unemployed women; 60% low income women and 20% lone parents. The projects took place nationally across England.

Main outcomes

Prowess, a DP partner, was a major contributor to the drawing up of the UK Department of Trade and Industry's National Strategic Framework for Women's Enterprise. Women’s business support services were developed in a strategic way at national level to meet the needs of existing and emerging women entrepreneurs leading to equal numbers of women and men starting up businesses.



Transnational partnerships


Dinah Bennett, University of Durham,

Equal theme

Business creation


  • Over 2,500 new businesses

  • Over 1,200 new jobs created

  • Over 900 women receiving training

  • 2 new training packs

  • 28 new accredited courses

  • 1 accredited distance learning course

  • 30 tailor made workshops developed

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Activities and products

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