The incidence of, and controversy surrounding, gender-based small business training programs are both increasing. However, the nature and impact of these initiatives are not well documented. This empirical paper summarizes the findings of an evaluation of the impact of the Women’s Enterprise Initiative (WEI), a programthat seeks to foster the development of women-owned firms in Western Canada. Program assessment criteria included program effectiveness, strengths and weaknesses, job creation and retention, business survival, incrementality, and the facilitation of enterprise growth. The results suggest that men and women seek differenttypes of assistance with respect to business development. When compared to a control group of business owners, WEI clients and women business owners were more likely than males to prioritize intrinsic outcomes such as evaluation of entrepreneurial skills, building self-confidence, and improving strategic management skills. Conversely, male business owners prioritized operational skills such as helping to improve strategic management and identifying opportunities for growth.
Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Sprott School of Business

Orser, B.J. (Barbara J.), & Riding, A.L. (2006). Gender-based Small Business Programming: The Case of the Women’s Enterprise Initiative. Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 19(2), 143–166. doi:10.1080/08276331.2006.10593364