Female Entrepreneurship (2022-2026)

Researchers: Dr Isobel Cunningham, Lecturer, Faculty Of Business

Funding: €4m strategic regional development research project under the Government’s North-South Research Programme.

Project Aim

The Atlantic Innovation Corridor is a cross-border collaboration focusing on themes such as rural entrepreneurial ecosystems, business scaling, female entrepreneurship, digitalisation, freight connectivity and mental health. The Atlantic Innovation Corridor brings together a research team organised in hubs in Derry and Limerick and administered in the third hub in Galway. The four-year project was announced by Taoiseach Michéal Martin T.D. and Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris T.D. as part of the Government’s Shared Island North South Research Programme. The Atlantic Innovation Corridor involves a series of research work programmes on sustainable regional development for the north-west of the island, the west and mid-west.

The work package on which ATU Donegal are focused on is female entrepreneurship. This project will investigate the experiences, strategies, and outcomes for female innovation-driven entrepreneurs in the Northwest Atlantic Innovation Corridor region. The research will be carried out in partnership with key female entrepreneurship programmes and networks on the island, crossing borders and industries. Entrepreneurs will join the project as participant researchers, providing fine-grained data and unique insights into the process of establishing and growing start-ups. The research will contribute to our understanding of how female entrepreneurs engage with their eco-system in establishing and growing their new ventures. It will provide deeper knowledge of how access to finance and interventions can be made more equal for female founders, at a structural level as well as at a practice level. It will provide evidence-based intelligence to inform female entrepreneurship supports.