New building complex provides major boost for female entrepreneurs in North West UK

The Women’s International Centre for Economic Development (WICED) provides a home for female entrepreneurs in the north west of England. EU investments helped pay for the construction of a new office building which houses the centre in the port city of Liverpool.

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" The ERDF investment in WICED has helped to create over 1 000 new businesses, created over 2 000 new jobs, been a physical home to over 150 businesses and become a landmark in the city as the first dedicated space for women's enterprise. "

Mike Henesey, Head of Project Delivery

The centre provides a space for entrepreneurship and small businesses to prosper. It helps enterprises to start, grow, maintain and improve performance which, in turn, creates jobs locally and boosts growth. 

Since opening its doors in January 2011, the EU-funded WICED has delivered start-up and growth support to more than 3 700 women. It has helped to start around 1 000 new mostly female-led businesses in Liverpool and neighbouring Greater Manchester. In addition, the centre has provided incubation support for around 70 businesses, 85 % of which are led by women. In all, the investment in WICED has helped to create more than 2 000 jobs.

Thus, WICED is now a key driver of women’s economic development and entrepreneurship in its region. The building also houses an international research hub which provides access to research information and international links to other female entrepreneurs. Moreover, the centre has been awarded the role of UK lead in a European Network of Mentors for Women Entrepreneurs.

International impact

It has hosted more than a dozen visits from EU Delegations wanting to improve their understanding of the relationship between gender issues, economic development and regeneration. Delegations have come from a range of European countries including Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Ireland and Slovenia.

WICED has also forged a relationship with the Shanghai Women’s Federation, which boasts more than 9 million members. It sent a delegation to China and hosted a return visit for five key members of the Federation. 

In addition, WICED has undertaken consultancy services on women’s economic development in Nepal and Ghana. The centre has established an international expert panel which includes experts from the UK, Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Furthermore, WICED regularly contributes its expertise to conferences on economic development and female entrepreneurship across the world.

Local value

In 2012, the centre received the Mayor of Liverpool’s inaugural Award for Social Innovation. The building has also helped to improve the physical environment of the city’s Baltic triangle area, creating a sense of place and identity for local residents and workers. 
Upon completion, the project supported the creation of five new jobs at the centre itself and safeguarded 25 other posts.

Total investment and EU funding 

Total investment for the project “Women’s International Centre for Economic Development” is EUR 5 814 000, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 2 867 000 through the “North West England” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period. 


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