Peer support for female entrepreneurs is key according to recent Irish study
The study found that peer support is considered as very valuable, motivating female entrepreneurs to develop their own businesses. However there is a need of additional strategies.
Ulster University Business School surveyed participants of female entrepreneurship programmes that were sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, between 2013 and 2017.
The research was carried out by NDRC Pre-Accelerator Leader Helen Fullen, to get a better understanding of the impact of peer support in Ireland.
The study revealed that 86% of the respondents considered peer support to be very or extremely important; for 83% sharing of knowledge, information and resources was the most valuable aspect of peer support. As well, mentors are pivotal to peer support (81%) while 62% of Female Entrepreneurship Programmes were found to provide a substantial source of peer support. 85% of respondents stayed in touch with their peers following the completion of an entrepreneurship programme.
In general, group discussions were the preferred way of learning, as 70% agreed, while 64% concluded that, after this, an informal one-to-one discussion would be useful.
“The evidence we found in this study clearly demonstrates that female entrepreneurs turn to trusted peer support to share, motivate and sustain each other through the ups and downs of venture building,” said Helen Fullen.
To increase the positive impact of peer support, the study recommends the development of a cohesive strategy led by Enterprise Ireland that connects female entrepreneurs with networks and mentors. Support activities should also increase awareness of the importance of peer support in entrepreneurship.
It was concluded that dedicated female business development programmes, facilitating peer-to-peer learning, as well as solid networks, are invaluable for those starting out.