I’m at the Diana International 2010 Research Conference in beautiful Banff, Alberta. It’s a small gathering of about 80 delegates from 21 countries, gathered to discuss the latest research and practices on women’s entrepreneurship. This is primarily an academic conference, the sixth of its kind since the inception of the Diana Project
(now Diana International) in 1999.
I wangled an invitation to this sterling event for two reasons:
1. To get a better idea of the resources we could draw on to assist women entrepreneurs in Manitoba; and
2. Contribute to the ongoing study of this most important movement by sharing what we as practitioners have learned over the years.
In recent years, there has been increasing effort to bring academics and practitioners together so that they might derive mutual benefit from applying academic research to real-world situations. As practitioners, we may be able to inform and inspire some further research based on our own grassroots experiences with women entrepreneurs. From what I can see, this is a very healthy and worthwhile development. The women I’ve met so far are interested in both academic and service provision projects, and are open to sharing information.
The real work starts today! Approximately 50 papers will be presented on topics ranging from “The Influence of Venture Capital on Investing in Women-Led Businesses” to “Combining Love Life and Work Life: The Effect of Copreneurship
on Firm Performance and Satisfaction in Business and Family”.
In between there is, of course, the great networking and sharing that goes on at breaks and meals – the real gold to be found in these gatherings. I’ve spoken to women from eastern Canada, Australia, the States and the UK and have marveled at their work, their experiences and the wisdom they have to offer that will, I hope, ultimately work its way into the work we do in Manitoba to support our own growing woman business-owner network.
More to come.