EU flag
Interreg logo
Accelerating Women's Enterprise logo
Accelerating Women's Enterprise mentoring session

Free support for your startup enterprise

We’re excited to announce that we have been given further funding and have  launched a new programme of workshops running until March 2023!

Primarily aimed at women in the West Sussex region, we also accept applications from women in East Sussex, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight.

All our workshops and events are completely free to attend as they're funded by the European Regional Development Fund. 

Our training covers topics such as:

  • Social Media for Business
  • Personal Effectiveness
  • Time Management
  • Managing Money and Risk
  • Branding
  • Marketing

If you’re a woman running, or thinking of running, her own business and you’re based in the Solent area, we also run a series of networking events through our Female Entrepreneurs Network.

Women smiling at phone


AWE has a specific focus on supporting women who face additional barriers to starting and growing their enterprises. As a funded project, participants have to meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for our support.

To join our training programme or get a mentor you must:

  • Identify as a woman
  • Be at the pre-start or early stage of running a business (up to 3 and a half years)
  • Have the right to work in the UK
  • Face a barrier to starting up, such as a disability, health condition, low income, etc. 

If you’re not sure if you qualify, you can contact us for an informal chat.

Support for women: based on experience, backed by research

The support provided by the AWE programme is backed by new research led by University of Portsmouth.  You can find out more about our research on our research pages.

"I just felt connected with the AWE, they could understand how I felt. I was beaming throughout the first day of the Business Builder course, it was great to be with other women who were experiencing similar issues. Everyone has been so kind and supportive." - Ceri Winfield

We’ve been supporting women with their businesses through the AWE training since 2019. You can find out what they have to say about the programme in our case studies below.

The AWE project has already:

  • provided over 50 hours of new learning content to help female entrepreneurs start a business
  • trained 600 women entrepreneurs
  • recruited and trained more than 200 mentors
  • helped over 120 women start businesses
  • conducted new research on women's entrepreneurship

View our online training options and legacy toolkit

Organisations wanting access to our training materials can also register.

Some of the AWE training modules are also available as part of the toolkit

Become an AWE Mentor

Would you like to support a woman on her startup journey? 

Through our mentor training programme, we can train you to pass on your skills and experience to women and help them address their barriers to running a business.

To be a mentor you must:

  • have run a successful business for at least 3 years, either currently or in the past, OR
  • be a professional with business-relevant skills (such as book-keeping, accounting, social media, risk management, etc)

If you have the experience to be a mentor, or you know someone who'd like to take part in the mentor training programme, please complete the form at the bottom of this page. 


Find out more about AWE

Find out more about the programme and the other partners.

Follow the project on social media

If you'd like to be notified about our next training and networking courses and events, or if you're interested in the mentoring scheme, please complete our form.

Our team

Dr Zoe Dann is a Senior Lecturer in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, with a special interest in female entrepreneurship. Zoe is the Principal Investigator and project manager for the AWE project in Portsmouth.

View Zoe's research profile.

Courtney Elkins is the AWE Programme Coordinator.

Mrs Amy Doyle is the founder of the University of Portsmouth's Female Entrepreneurs Network. Amy is the Entrepreneur Liaison for the AWE project, providing a first point of contact for entrepreneurs and organisations interested in participating.

Dr Georgiana Busoi is a Principal Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Marketing Programmes. She is the lead on materials development for the University of Portsmouth in the training element of the project.

View Georgiana's staff profile.

Accelerating Women’s Enterprise (AWE) is a collaborative project supporting women's entrepreneurship in the UK and France. AWE funded by the European Union’s Interreg Programme.

Get in touch

If you'd like to find out more about the AWE Project, simply email us at

How we can help your business

From offering our expertise and facilities, to finding office space and business support, we can help your organisation succeed.

Male and female University of Portsmouth staff in business meeting
Read more

Business services

Is your business ready to take a step forward? We have a long track record of helping businesses and startups in different markets to grow and develop.

Group of University of Portsmouth students in a business meeting
Read more

Train your workforce

From degree apprenticeships to work-based Learning at Work programmes and bespoke training, we offer a range of tailored training options to meet your needs and help you to grow.

Train your Workforce
Read more