04 June 2019, 09:48
Around 50 women from six countries will gather in Argyll next week (10-14 June) to explore the challenges facing female entrepreuneurs in sparsely populated areas and how these can be overcome.
Delegates from rural parts of Iceland, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Canada and Scotland are due to attend the three-day W-Power seminar.
The event is being organised by Highlands and islands Enterprise (HIE) as part of the Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) programme supported by the European Regional Development Programme (ERDF).
It takes place at Portavadie Marina and Inveraray Inn and will include visits to women-led businesses, including Benmore Cafe, Beinn an Tuirc Distillery and Argyll Coffee Roasters.
The itinerary also includes presentations on using tools such as virtual networking and digital marketing in tackling some of the challenges of doing business in sparsely populated areas.
Accessing finance, peer learning and gender-aware business coaching will also be discussed.
A networking and learning session will feature real life stories about the opportunities and challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and information about support available through the W-Power programme.
Cathy Higginson, HIE’s W-Power project manager, said:
“It’s great to be hosting this important international event in Argyll. The seminar will focus on growing the contribution female entrepreneurs make to the rural economy.
“Encouraging the creation of more women-led businesses and helping existing ones to expand will not only bring fresh and creative ideas but will empower women in society and create new sources of prosperity and jobs.
“The Highlands and Islands region is home to many vibrant, ambitious, innovation-driven business women. For Scotland, this event represents an opportunity to engage with stakeholders across the northern and Arctic communities and discuss ways to help retain and develop skills in more rural areas.”
Eve Macfarlane, Founder of Argyll Coffee Roasters, said:
“W-Power offers small, rural businesses some great opportunities for networking and business skills development. We’re absolutely delighted to be involved in the project and really look forward to sharing our experiences, as well as our hand-roasted speciality coffee with the W-Power team when they visit our new roastery in Kames.”
Helena Puhakka-Tarvainen, international lead for the W-Power project from North Karelia, Finland, said:
“Highlands and Islands Enterprise is a valued partner in the W-Power project. We are very excited to be spending time in Argyll visiting female-led businesses and seeing at first hand the opportunities W-Power is creating here.
“By working together across national boundaries, W-Power helps us share ideas and good practice. Together we can test out new types of gender-aware business support, and empower business women across the region to develop and grow their businesses.”
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NPA aims to generate vibrant, competitive and sustainable communities across Europe’s most remote regions, through innovation, entrepreneurship and growth initiatives.
Through the programme, women in sparsely populated areas in northern and Arctic communities are encouraged to set-up, develop and grow their businesses.
As a Scottish partner in the programme, HIE secured £143,000 from NPA for the £240,000 W-Power project to support women entrepreneurs in addressing challenges they face when starting a business.
Over the next three years W-Power will build capacity among women entrepreneurs, strengthen the work of groups and services set up to support them, and encourage more self-employment among women in sparsely populated communities.
Argyll Coffee Roasters (pictured) are speciality coffee roasters based near Tighnabruich, Argyll. They source sustainably-produced single origin coffee beans from around the world and roast them by hand in their state-of-the-art Diedrich in 12 roaster in Kames. Their freshly roasted coffee is sold in restaurants and retail outlets across Argyll.
Caption: Eve MacFarlane of Argyll Coffee roasters will welcome the delegation next week.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is an economic and community development agency implementing Scotland's Economic Strategy across a region that covers more than half the country. With around 300 staff, HIE supports hundreds of client businesses and social enterprises; strengthens communities, particularly in fragile areas; develops growth sectors, and invests in infrastructure to create a more competitive and low carbon region.
You can visit our website at http://www.hie.co.uk
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