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AbstractPurpose – The purpose of this research is to investigate the needs and preferences for training among growth-oriented women-owned SMEs in the East of England. Design/methodology/approach – Quantitative data were collected through 108 on-line questionnaires, and the means analysed using SPSS. Qualitative data collected in response to open-ended questions were inductively analysed and interpreted. Findings – Only one fourth of respondents received growth-oriented training in the previous two years, with an average duration of 3-5 days per year. Programmes most in demand concerned innovation and opportunity recognition, business evaluation and growth considerations, developing strategic customers and customers care, customer relationship management, as well as selling, networking and negotiation skills. High demand for these programmes corresponds to others results identifying contributory factors to higher enterprise performance and growth: product/service quality, new product/service development, appropriate marketing, effective use of websites, selling skills and informal networking. Research limitations/implications – The scope of the project is limited to service sectors and sole proprietorships. Geographic scope is limited to the East of England. These limits nonetheless provide a reasonable base and rationale for the scope of the study. Practical implications – With a better understanding of the capacity building requirements of women entrepreneurs in growth businesses, appropriately designed training programmes can be developed to help women achieve higher levels of entrepreneurial success.
CitationTraining needs for women-owned SMEs in England 2008, 50 (8/9):687 Education + Training
JournalEducation + Training
DescriptionOriginality/value – The study offers original primary research into the contributory growth factors for women-owned enterprises in a representative area of Britain, identifies key issues, maps survival and success factors, and assesses women entrepreneurs' training needs and preferences.
SponsorsThis research study, conducted by the Centre for Women's Enterprise at the University of Bedfordshire, is supported by a grant from the Higher Education European Social Fund (HE-ESF).
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