AWE Making a Difference

Accelerating Women’s Enterprise logo set

WATCH: AWE Making A Difference

Accelerating Women’s Enterprise (AWE) is a new collaborative project to help women living in various regions either side of the English Channel to increase their personal skills and develop their business ideas and knowledge.

The School for Social Entrepreneurs Dartington will support women with new training workshops, face to face advice, mentoring and online learning, all developed specifically for women living in Devon and Somerset.

Programme goals


The project as a whole aims to:

Create 35 hours of new learning content

Train 700 female entrepreneurs

Recruit and train over 160 mentors

Help 134 women to start new businesses

Carry out new research into women’s enterprise

Within this, SSE Dartington aims to:

Work with 124 women social entrepreneurs

Engage 40 mentors

Help set up 30 new jobs through the social enterprises established

AWE Making a Difference

The programme results, learning content, research, mentor-bank and resources will all be brought together in a Starter Kit, which will be freely available to any stakeholder or organisation seeking to improve its services to female entrepreneurs.

AWE support is being delivered by a consortium of partners in the UK and France. Please contact the organisation in your area directly to register your interest and find out more about the training and support services on offer and where they will be delivered.

AWE is supported by the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme, which is contributing €2,641,184.73 of European Regional Development Funds and aims to address economic and social issues in regions on either side of the Channel.

Through this collaborative, cross-border approach, we seek to improve the quality and effectiveness of support to socially or economically disadvantaged and under-represented groups and to address the gender imbalance in entrepreneurship.

Forthcoming course dates and how to apply

AWE COVID-19 Update: Due to the ongoing pandemic, we have responded by adapting our programmes to be run online, primarily via Zoom, Facebook and a WhatsApp group.

AWE Sofa Sessions

Next course will take place on Thursday evenings weekly from 27 May – 22 July 2021, with one week study break on 1 July

Applicants must be living in Devon or Somerset

Please submit your application before Monday 3rd May in order to be considered for a place

This FREE programme runs from the comfort of our sofas (Zoom, Facebook and WhatsApp). Materials and resources will be shared through email and other easy-to-use online methods. It has been designed to be a good starting point for women who want to set up businesses, social enterprises, charities, and community projects. The main focus of this programme is to help you develop your initial ideas, explore personal motivations, work on business planning, and start to build a supportive network. We bring in previous AWE entrepreneurs, who may just be a few steps ahead of you, to share their journeys and also to be part of our supportive network. We facilitate a safe space for you to share your ideas in a clear and passionate way, with the rest of the group. The time commitment for this programme is approximately 2-3 hours per week over 8 evening sessions.


Or please email for more information.

AWE Nuts & Bolts Sessions

Ideal follow-on from the AWE Sofa Sessions.

Six online sessions starting in June
Applicants must be living in Devon or Somerset

This programme, designed for women who have completed the Sofa Sessions course, delves more deeply into the details of running successful businesses, social enterprises, charities and community projects. We bring in experts who share their knowledge and experience about business planning, financial management, sales and marketing. Equally as important, this programme is enhanced by hearing the stories from other women entrepreneurs, who have already set up successful social enterprises. Each day is intensive but it is also very supportive, and we use a combination of small and larger online groups, so everyone has the chance to ask their questions and work on their own enterprises. The time commitment of this programme is approximately five and a half hours per week (9:30 – 12:30 and 1:30-15:00) for six weeks.

We encourage you to apply for the AWE Sofa Sessions first, but you can also apply for the Nuts and Bolts sessions at the same time.

For more information please email

AWE Two-Day Accelerator (intensive support for women who have already created enterprises)

Dates TBC
Applicants must be living in Devon or Somerset

Our Accelerator Programme is an intensive two-day course which is aimed at women who are slightly further along in the process of establishing or running an enterprise. Have you set up an enterprise and found it hard to sustain? Have things ground to a halt as other demands have got in the way? Has the Covid-19 pandemic knocked your plans sideways?

Our Two-Day Accelerator Programme will use creative and exciting ways to connect with each other – whilst still in our own homes – and will build a strong shared sense of community.

We will start and end each day with small network groups who will support us to set our own aims and intentions and help us to stay focussed. There will be a choice of other sessions, run by leading experts, where we will delve into the complexity of launching and sustaining a thriving enterprise. These might include business strategy, marketing, social media, networking, legal issues, governance and financial management. In addition, we explore the challenges of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, enhancing our self-care, managing our time, and more.

Participants will need to commit to attending for both days, and even though this might be tiring, we think that this time commitment will create energy and a strong group. We will build in time for breaks, for informal conversations, and for networking with other women who are involved in different stages of the AWE programme.

We hope that this Two-Day Accelerator will be an excellent opportunity to kick-start businesses and enterprises which have struggled to maintain momentum, including those which have been affected by the Covid-19 climate.

The AWE Two-Day Accelerator is FREE to attend, but we are not yet accepting applications – watch this space!
For more information, email

What people are saying about the AWE programmes

“What have I learned from the AWE programme? So many different things ranging from how to develop my ideas, how to plan around them, how to market, how to use social media better, how to manage money better both personally and professionally, how to move things forward, where my weaknesses lie and lots more.”

“Meeting other people planning their own social enterprises has been amazing. Being able to hear directly from people who have done their own thing has been inspiring and confidence building. The course content was relevant and delivered in an accessible way. I feel more knowledgeable and confident from all of that.”

“I wish everyone could do this course. It has been completely fantastic. The content, planning and delivery was always smooth running, well thought through, great attention to detail, well facilitated.”

latest news and blogs ⇓

Celebrating the launch of the first AWE programme

This week we are celebrating the launch of the first Accelerating Women’s Enterprise (AWE) Making a Difference programme in Plymouth.

Women supporting women

In what ways can we help each other to succeed, as women? The key is to motivate ourselves to make those new connections with other women we admire, says Daisy Healy of Dartington’s Accelerating Women’s Enterprise (AWE) programme.

How to overcome fear as an aspiring entrepreneur

Why do so many projects, enterprises and businesses fail to get beyond the initial idea phase? Daisy Healy explains why fear is the entrepeneur’s greatest enemy – and how to overcome it.

AWE: Helping local women to make a difference through social enterprise

With only 17% of start-ups in the UK being founded by women, something needs to change – so The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) Dartington are offering free training and expert mentoring to support women all over Devon to set up enterprises and community projects.

Social Purpose: What is it and how can you find yours?

What’s your social purpose? In other words, what can you do with your life that really matters? Daisy Healy takes a look at how to tackle such a weighty question – and how the Accelerated Women’s Enterprise (AWE) Making a Difference programme can help make your social purpose a reality.

How to find out more

For further info, visit the dedicated AWE website and sign up to their newsletter to stay up to date with the latest news. If you are local to the South West and interested in taking part in or supporting the project, please contact Kate at

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