B.NEW: Cross-Channel network of enterprising women promotes exports and business skills

More than 200 British and French women entrepreneurs have joined an innovative cross-Channel enterprise network to promote business skills, exports and good practices.

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B.NEW Networking event, held in Cornwall, UK – April 2014. B.NEW Networking event, held in Cornwall, UK – April 2014.

" The contact was mind-blowing, these women have a very uninhibited manner and present their activity in a very pro-business way. "

French woman entrepreneur after a visit to the UK organised by the project

B.NEW - the Business Network of Enterprising Women - was set up to in 2009 to bring together female entrepreneurial talent in Brittany (FR), Cornwall and Hampshire (UK). Its aim has been to create a cross-Channel network to promote the creation of women-led businesses and facilitate their international development. Since its launch, more than 200 British and French women entrepreneurs have joined the online B.NEW network.

These businesswomen come from a variety of sectors ranging from fashion and business consulting to tourism, crafts, design and film production.

Help for business start-ups

One of the prime objectives of the organisation is to help women to start and develop a business and the network can help give new entrepreneurs access to experienced businesswomen on either side of the Channel. The network also opens the door to cross-channel export development through the use of its network of contacts.

B.NEW aims to share best practice regarding women entrepreneurship in England and in Brittany and to develop intercultural relations and business between the enterprising women in the two countries. The network has created a database of the businesses involved in B.NEW. This is supporting the internationalisation of businesses and also helping women entrepreneurs to get access to European and national funding. The network’s website features a forum enabling members to share experience and best practices while making new contacts.

Support and training

B.NEW also promotes language learning and the understanding of business creation and IT development. Some 400 businesses have participated in network activities such as workshops, training courses and networking opportunities. More than 60 women have taken part in its linguistic and ICT training sessions.

Understanding the dynamics of women entrepreneurship is also an underlying role of B.NEW. It has made steps in this direction by undertaking comparative research into the situation of woman entrepreneurs in the different territories. This has been facilitated by round-table meetings and interviews to identify the barriers experienced by women entrepreneurs and the potential actions to tackle these issues. The project will make recommendations to decision-makers in both France and England to help foster women entrepreneurship.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “B.NEW - Business Network of Enterprising Women” is EUR 1 783 000, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 891 000 from the “France (Channel) – England” INTERREG IV A cross-border cooperation programme for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

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