The purpose of this paper is to investigate the Cyfenter Development Partnership action research programme primarily aimed at under‐represented entrepreneurs in Wales. The Welsh Assembly Government and the EQUAL initiative of the European Social Fund support the programme with the objective of informing and developing inclusive policies, strategies and practices within mainstream enterprise support.
The methodology used to identify the needs of under‐represented groups when establishing a business and barriers to the start‐up process has been action research, which combines both information gathering and facilitation of change.
The research data indicate that all under‐represented groups face similar challenges and issues and many experiences are not exclusive to any one particular group. Financial risk, lack of collateral and self‐finance were significant issues for the under‐represented groups.
Although the overall response rate of 12 per cent for the telephone and postal surveys was low, it was felt that the responses were sufficient for the study to proceed as further qualitative data gathering was undertaken.
Through the empowerment of excluded entrepreneurs, to express and suggest potential solutions, it is expected that policies and practices can be leveraged where enterprise support can become more relevant and appropriate for all. It is also expected that this will lead a greater number of under‐represented entrepreneurs to access mainstream enterprise support.
A key objective of the programme is to create and facilitate a platform for direct communication between under‐represented groups, policy makers and enterprise support provision, within a solutions‐oriented context.
Angove, M., Cresswell, C., Akhtar, R., Rolfe, J., Brooksbank, D. and Thomas, B. (2008), "Working from the margins to inform the centre", Equal Opportunities International, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 292-304. https://doi.org/10.1108/02610150810860101
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