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The Benefits of cross-organisational research

The ICHSPA (Interdisciplinary Centre of Human and Social Process Analysis) is a group of researchers from Rennes 1 and Rennes 2 universities and from the Political Studies Institute. The group has just started a research project into the business activities carried out by women, hence their interest in the B-New programme and its partners and participants. The B-New programme enables them to engage directly with specialist organisations, like Entreprendre au feminine, science parks, business incubator sites and local authorities such as the County councils of Côtes d’Armor and Finistère.

On June 5th ; the ICHSPA organised a seminar to launch the debate and to define the research framework. It brought together 21 people in total, 7 representatives of the B-New project and 14 academics. There was a majority of women in the room (there were 16 women and only 5 men) ; the female point of view was very much at the forefront of the discussion.

Entreprendre au Féminin presented its objectives and methods of interventions which the researchers have analysed using their theoretical knowledge and experience. The results show that the need for specific support for enterprising women comes from the inequalities that women have to face when they try to create their own businesses. The point is not to generate new careers or business simply for the sake of it, but to ensure the transition from business idea to actual activity as the rate of business creation is significantly lower for women than for men. However the experience of Entreprendre au feminin shows that 72% of the companies created by their members still exist 5 years after their creation, whereas the regional average for Brittany is only of 56%. Taking into account specific motivations such as work/life balance and independence, achievement, is essential for women.

Virginie Frontier, who is in the second year of her doctorate at the university of Bretagne Occidentale presented the first results of her work on cooperatives d’activité et d’emploi, organisations which offer people the opportunity to test trade before they develop it alone and also the social enterprise sector which many women entrepreneurs favour as a business model. She will extend the survey across Brittany in order to work with similar business organisations.

This first meeting already shows the benefits of exchanges of views and best practice between researchers, project counsellors and the local authorities which implement public policies. As the researchers highlighted, the transition from idea to fully formed business is often treated as a purely social activity. The research aims to show that it should be treated not only as a social action, but a political and economic action too.

http://www.entreprendre-au-feminin.net/

le 17 juillet 2012 par Gaëlle Vigouroux