Workshop: How do we continue the cross border cluster from here?

For successful business one needs customers as they generate the money. Unfortunately, women entrepreneurs in general are not so good in selling to the right price (pricing). But they are good in networking. In order to understand why networking is essential Lena divided the participants at the conference in four working groups and asked them to discuss how they are going to work together and with what.

 

GROUP 1

Initial point for the first group was sightseeing. According to the participants in this group one should focus on events and sightseeing. There can be different cooperation options depending on the type of holiday tourist wishes to spend: yachting, biking, fishing, walking, picking barriers, spa, etc .

On the question how they are going to work they underlined that together they will have strength, information, contacts/networks, added values, and more customers.

GROUP 2

The second group focused on cross-border tourism/vacation. They underlined that there is an increased interest in active vacations combined with food experiences and spa. They consider a Jump on-off possibility as the most suitable option for their target groups. The desirable target groups would consist of ten persons. They believe that the Quadruple app is a means to efficient and easy marketing for tourists. They also underlined the importance of benchmarking.

GROUP 3

The third group believed through the cooperation they will learn about each other and with each other (training, seminars). It’s essential to exchange knowledge, ideas and experience and especially bad experiences. One good idea would be to have a common forum or council for improvement of ideas. They should promote each other’s business which will lead to more income. Lobbing was also considered as a part of success.

GROUP 4

The forth group concluded that networking is important for sharing customers. They considered rich people as main customers as from an Estonian perspective the middle-class can’t afford travelling in three countries during one holiday. Another group of customers could be people with a very specific interest (for example photographing). The target group might be from other countries than the Quadruple regions, for instance Germany, USA, Holland etc.

SUMMARY OF THE WORKSHOP

For successful business the following is needed:

  • Coaching in each country
  • Strong cooperation
  • Good website
  • build upon the MobiTourist app
  • Experience exchange
  • Trainings, seminars and discussions
  • Common packages
  • Common products
  • Something concrete to build the networking and clustering on

A study of the conditions for women’s entrepreneurship in the Estonian Entrepreneurial environment

The backgrounds of the women were very different (turnover of the companies, experience and age of entrepreneurs, branch, etc). For the methodology, a qualitative method with semi-structured interviews were used. All interviews were recorded and documented. In addition, data from the Statistical Office, results from studies carried out by the Ministry of Social Affairs, and other various studies that examine women’s entrepreneurship in Estonia were used. The methodology was framed by the project partner: Royal Institute of Technology (KTH).

The study showed that the question of gender equality is not very important for Estonian female entrepreneurs as opportunities for starting up own business are felt to be the same for everyone, regardless of their gender.

One of the reasons for this perceived attitude is that not a particular sex but rather independence, activity, desire and social skills are required for an entrepreneur to be successful. Basically, it’s an entrepreneur him/herself who can create attractive conditions for business. In rural areas there are many female entrepreneurs and the share of male labour is considerably higher only in agriculture and construction.

The educational level of Estonian women in rural areas is higher than men, but their economic activity is still lower. Female share in entrepreneurship is estimated to one third of all entrepreneurs.

According to the study one of the incentives for starting up an enterprise is often dissatisfaction with a former job or time management. The interviewed women declared a wish to control their own time, determine their own conditions for activities and/or be free in their decisions.

The share of activity fields which have traditionally been considered feminine is high among retailing, training and consultation services, beauty treatment services, healthcare, accommodation, catering and tourism.

In Estonia activities of enterprises that involve women entrepreneurs are more often oriented towards the domestic market; women entrepreneurs are rarely involved in import and export. Estonian women entrepreneurs are oriented towards cooperation if they can gain something out of it but won’t consider being a member of a network without gaining anything because of lack of time.

Of the 23 interviewees, only three women entrepreneurs had experienced discrimination or seen it from the side.

As a conclusion of this study Anneli underlined that no considerable gender inequality is perceived in the Estonian entrepreneurial environment by the interviewees. However it exists on a structural level.

Quadruple Helix as a method to promote women’s entrepreneurship

tripleh

In the project:

Introducing/highlighting the role of NGOs in women’s entrepreneurship development by putting a Quadruple Helix model into practical use.

A typical practical support structure model is a Triple Helix-thinking:

tripleh

In the Nordic countries this method has used very much. In number of countries this spin is powerful.

The SME –blind Triple Helix clearly shows interaction between different actors:

In practice, government and academia can collaborate, but when they focus on industries they support dominating industries (located in towns, high-tech, growth- businesses). Small businesses, business for survival (service) and rural industries are neglected.

To go towards Quadruple Helix logic we shall include civil society. But what will the role of the civil society be? Can NGOs be considered as the 4th Helix? The Quadruple mode is very new, so far there are few experiences. One example is a study made by the Woman Resource Centres (Malin Lindberg ) – bifocal approach intended to increase women participation in regional development). Here it was mentioned first and from here started an Empirical case: the Quadruple Helix Central Baltic project.

QHinQHCB

As for the “Government” from the model we have in the project: Stockholm County Administrative Board (SE), Municipality of Norrtälje (SE), Väståbolands stad (FI), Destination Roslagen (SE), Intermunicipal collaborative organization. “Academia” in the project is represented by: Saaremaae University Centre (EE) – entrepreneurship research; KTH – Royal Institute of Technology (SE) – Innovation and Gender research and, Åbo Akademi University (FI) – Gender and ICP research. As for the “Industry”: E-teams, regional teams of entrepreneurs collaborating in Estonia, Finland and Sweden, Local subcontractors and technology providers in Estonia, Finland and Sweden. Finally, the “Civil society” is represented by: BalticFem(SE) – NGO organising local femal entrepreneurs SE; Eurohouse (EE) NGO organizing local female entrepreneurs; Läänemaa Tourism (EE) – local tourism association.

There have been various research activities undertaken, such as: workshops, study visits, dialogue seminars, E-teams project work, interview studies on conditions for female entrepreneurs to understand how they work in Finland, Estonia and Sweden.

What we have seen so far are that NGOs have four roles.

Role 1: NGOs as collaborative platforms

Activities: NGOs enable non‐hierarchical networking, business collaboration nodes; it is a good incubator for start of a cluster; arena for trustful communication and information exchange; carrier of common goals and values.

Challenges: Short‐term financing despite long‐term needs (gender inequalities exist for thousand of years, so we can’t solve the problem in two years); difficult trade-off for individual business owners between collaborating and running their own firm.

→ Cluster formation is not an easy matter!

Role 2: NGOs as legitimating link for other three actors (government, academia, industry)

Activities: Promoting gender mainstreaming in legislation and business support services; linking small businesses to authorities and academic institutions.

Challenges: Questioned legitimacy due to informal practices and being ‘women’s’ organizations’ (specific interest, focusing just on women is not good); seen as competing with governmental structures. Lack of local legitimacy (in specific municipality they can have problem). Problems of creating linkages to academic organizations (links are not always needed, what is needed instead are well trained workers in particular business rather than laboratory tests).

Role 3: NGOs as host organisations for competence development and process innovations

Activities: Competence development (organising common trainings) and process innovations related to firm categories usually excluded in Triple Helix systems.

Challenges: Innovations not directly transformable into commercial products and services not valued by other helices. By other words, if we innovate something it cannot always be regarded as an innovation that can be sold on the market, so maybe it won’t be interesting in the same way as an innovation of a product.

Role 4: NGOs carrying individual and societal dimensions

Activities: Promoting bifocal approaches emphasising gender change as both individual and structural.

Challenges: Individual and structural aspects of women’s entrepreneurship seen as controversial and irrelevant in business communities.

So, we can define a role for the civil society:

rolecivilsoc1

Annika Skoglund has followed the work in Roslagen and the Swedish Entrepreneur Team which can be called a Quadruple Helix process in practice.

She described the work that took place during winter and spring 2011: In the established E-team network the idea of creating a new biking path that could unite the enterprises in the project was born. In February 2011 the work process started, there were discussions about how to do a mobile application for a biking path. A need for a database with information was highlighted and cooperation with Destination Roslagen started in order to share information from the web page Roslagen.se and the database behind it. Preparation of maps and brochures became actual; a workshop was held in order to discuss a Business Plan for a biking path idea.

In this specific workshop eleven participants (eight entrepreneurs) participated. It became a “real thing” to connect the entrepreneurs in the abstract network via a biking path and create joint travel packages. Also a few more entrepreneurs who had previously tried to create bicycle packages joined the project and the E‐team group. They all formed one group.

The members of the group decided to cooperate with each other. Project management made entrepreneurs work. Benchmarking of ideas was undertaken. Cooperation with Destination Roslagen started and it became obvious that new information was required for the database “Basetool”. The question whether the app was enough or not rose. Entrepreneurs were of the opinion that also a paper map was needed, something that tourists could look at directly. So collaboration started and a common graphical profile was designed. The bicycle map was seen as an important tool for promotion, something that could be shown to create interest about cycling tourism in Roslagen. But the problem was who would pay for the map and for what. Financial negotiation started and it showed that advertisements could be one way of financing the map.

WORKSHOP 1

A first workshop was organized and Lena Norrman lead it as a moderator. She was teaching participants who could be probable advertisers and sponsors. Local specialities were discussed and participants got homework: what can you offer TOGETHER as a network?

WORKSHOP 2

During the second workshop uniqueness was discussed. Ten participants (eight entrepreneurs) attended the workshop. Participants had to think of pleasures that could be offered to tourists. Homework focused on two aspects: What pleasures have we forgotten? Who are our customers?

WORKSHOP 3

The number of participants increased and reached 13 (eleven entrepreneurs). The discussion focused on details of the biking paths. It was decided to exclude Rimbo as there was no participant from that area. Among other issues participants talked about information that had to be present on Google maps, paper maps, brochures etc. Legal issues were also discussed.

ARCHIPELAGO FAIR DAYS

The network participated at the Archipelago fair which was held in Stockholm. The expo had one fee for groups and another fee for individual participants. As a network they had to pay only one fee and it was positively received. At the fair they sold different packages (Bike rentals, B&B, attractions, food experiences, etc). It was also possible to make individual packages. The selling point was Roslagen as beautiful and non‐explored area.

At this stage Annika made interviews with entrepreneurs. She had long conversations and realized that the map and the produced brochure made them very positive towards the project. It was also the start of the season. Next mission was to attract tourists. Entrepreneurs had a common aim: to get tourists to stay in region, not just to use bike path. In order to keep them entrepreneurs were recommending the next hotel, the next B&B. Thus, they started helping each other.

The interview study showed that the entrepreneurs were positive about project management and the network but they lacked time. They were positive towards the technology (app) but they were waiting for it. They had a pricing agreement for the package tours, having same price to the customer although the standard between B&B:s and hostels varied. The group agreed to offer same type of service to the guests, such as luggage transportation and “rent here, leave there” (collaborative approach). Everything showed that they wanted to work together, and not compete. They saw each other as back-up (“if one of our bikes break”) and were focused on keeping a tourist longer in the region. These are positive outcomes of the project.

INTERNAL DIFFICULTIES

  • The interest of the entrepreneurs
    1. Interest
    2. Participation
    3. Contribution
  • Change of owners
  • “With time we found our different roles” (it’s important not to say what they shall do, they find their own roles)

FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES

Many women had this business as a part-time job. There is a big difference between an entrepreneur who inherited a business (for example a property for B&B) and an entrepreneur who started from scratch.

QUADRUPLE HELIX ANALYSIS

If we use a Quadruple Helix thinking one can see relations between all four actors and their respective roles/functions in the project:

Industry (E-teams, Package co, Destination Roslagen, Local subcontractors)

• Members in network (network venturing); • Initiative of common objective; • Tourism and ICT; • Business strategy; • Service growth; • Support each other

Government (Municipality of Norrtälje, Stockholm County Administrative Board)

• Initiative; • Tourism and ICT (bridge gender but not balance); • Financing; • Service innovation; • Support; • “Glue” in the network; • Promotion

Academia (Saaremaa University, KTH, Åbo Akademi University)

• Education; • Gender awareness; • Policy proposals; • Reporting; • Academic publishing; • Project feedback; • Internal critical process

Civil society (BalticFem)

• Ideological aim; • Increase women’s entrepreneurship by business support; • Technical development; • Informational material; • Tight contact with the

municipality; • Implicitly inform about structures; • Promote to the old “hawks”

STRENGTH

  • Initiative acknowledged (financing, reputation)
  • Success common objective ‐ the map and broschure(business)
  • Project management (structure)
  • Entrepreneur selling packages (direction)
  • Networks already in place (adaptability)
  • A way of living (engagement)
  • From policy to business to long term cooperation

WEAKNESSES

  • Gender awareness only implicit
  • “There is no difference being a female entrepreneur” (financial support, administrative support)
  • Too many networks

FUTURE POSSIBILITIES

  • Improve the project by the app
  • Improve the sales channels
  • Improve gender awareness (NGO and entrepreneur interface)
  • Benchmark more internally in the network (boat path)

GENDER ANALYSIS

  • Cooperative practices
  • Kärlekskraft” (Jonasdottir, “Love-power”, it’s a typical female phenomena, women are more cooperative than men. Many women are happy to give love to customers)
  • Local networks
  • Political limitations

Launch of the Quadruple MobiTourist mobile application and website

OleBergenpresappen

Ole Bergen, Åbo Akademi University, Finland

OleBergenpresappenOle made a visualisation of the MobiTourist app:

At first one should choose a country of interest which leads to a Google map. A user can choose among different categories: accommodation, food, sightseeing, events, activities, shopping, etc. By clicking on desirable option the user gets information about it and can even see the distance to that object. In case of events calendar is used instead of the distance indicator showing when the particular event takes place.

When the project is finished the application can be downloaded without costs. However, someone has to maintain it. Ole underlined that it has been hard to get tourist entrepreneurs to understand the possibilities the apps will give to them. But those E- teams who have been active and saw different possibilities have also been really positive.

ICT Research and applying a SME perspective on development of mobile services

Everything started with number of meetings and planning sessions at the Åbo Akademi University where young researchers as well as professors and PhD:s were discussing in working groups what and how everything had to be done. The group started developing questionnaires which had to be sent out to entrepreneurs in all three partner countries.

Meetings with E-teams were planned in order to discuss the content of the questionnaire, to find out what entrepreneurs like, how they use ICT in their company etc. It was important to consider a gender aspect when preparing questionnaires which is why Åbo Akademi Women Research Institute got involved. Questionnaires were sent out directly to entrepreneurs or through the project partners:

  • in Finland were questionnaires in Swedish and Finish
  • in Sweden – in Swedish
  • in Estonia – in Estonian and Russian

The thematic working group at Åbo Akademi received many answers about how entrepreneurs use Internet, what they do, what they plan to do etc. Those answers were discussed in the group. The next step was to take direct contact with entrepreneurs in all three countries. Åbo Akademi’s researchers travelled around and met with about 20 entrepreneurs in Finland, Sweden and Estonia. Everything was filmed and documented.

After the so called “Looking at answers period” started when there were thematic working group meetings and discussions with project partners about what and how to proceed. As a result following assumptions were made:

  • Many mobiles have GPS and internet connection nowadays
  • People who use mobiles for tourism purposes are modern, therefore they have mobiles with GPS and internet connections
  • Roaming is expensive but apps should work off-line
  • Apps can be downloaded anywhere in the world

Problem

  • Finding a proper map for off-line

Limitation

  • Majority of pictures can be seen only on-line

Several meetings were held with E-teams in the three countries in order to discuss a proposal and get an outlook as they would be main users of applications.

A researcher was hired by ÅA to do the iOS application. Different beta versions were presented to E-teams during the process, new ideas were introduced. Initially the project discussed to develop the application for four operating systems, but resources were not enough so it was decided to focus on the two major operating systems on the market: iOS and Android.

A web page is also under development called mobitourist.eu. This web page will be available for all phones with an internet connection, but also act as an introduction to the iOS and Android applications. The apps will soon be put into the Apple store and also Android market.

The application MobiTourist is a concrete result of cross border cooperation and show cross border activities in Quadruple. It is expected from tourism entrepreneurs to be active and update their info.

Discussions about how these apps and the webpage should be updated after the project ends is on going. All data from all regions must be gathered in one place in order to always have the latest info in the apps. To find a suitable solution on how the project result in the form of a mobile app will live on after year 2011 is an important task to solve for the project

 

 

Cluster curriculum

Start-Up

At the starting seminar (December 2009) in Estonia many business promotion organisations and government agencies (MAPs) were invited. In Sweden the MAPs were involved later at a seminar during autumn 2010. It seems like the MAPs in Sweden haven’t been quite as rooted in the project as for example in Estonia where there has been a new tourism program developed during the project period. The timing was most successful in Estonia; in Sweden we were a little ahead of the time-table. But in Finland the timing made us more forced to just accept what was already in place.

Advice

Contacts with the organisations and authorities who are to absorb the experiences from the project and implement them in their ordinary operations should be established already at the start of the project and then be maintained with all knowledge derived from the project.

At the start-up SEMINAR in Norrtälje there was theory mixed with good practical examples from clusters in other industries. At a brainstorming workshop a common vision as well as several local visions emerged. Participants realized that it was important to find what was common and unique, and decide whether the cluster should be a large common cluster or several local clusters.

Advice

Start with a workshop including entrepreneurs and other involved parties where the vision and the cluster are defined. If there is to be a cross-border cluster begin to build the national sections, local and from the bottom up, while keeping the vision of the cross-border latent in the meantime.

Logistics

According to the project time-table there where a lot of work that should be done simultaneously. One lesson learned is that it is important to start with the actual target group first so that you have something concrete to report in order to get the business promotion players interested. Input from scientists has been good ever since the start, highlighting differences in men and women in business and living conditions in different countries. In the project we went from the abstract to the concrete; perhaps it would have been better to do the opposite.

Advice

Start with the entrepreneurs. Get them to formulate their vision and start building from the bottom-up considering their own common interests. They must be able to see the gain in order to put in time. The clustering should be done by them, not for them.

Cluster Coaches

The project showed that cluster coaches were needed to form entrepreneurial groups. But it was unclear who would have this role, someone in the group or outside it. Also, it was unclear what the coach should convey.

Advice

A cluster coach is needed in the formation of clusters, someone who leads the group and provides the tools to work from. Cluster coach can be a consultant on the basis of leading the work on the development program. It can also be useful to designate any group as a supervisor with responsibility to carry on the network after the project period.

The development program for entrepreneurs

During 2010 there were several conferences on themes of women’s entrepreneurship in a more global perspective, networking and social media, marketing on the web, environmental consulting and more. There were also brainstorming sessions about development of ICT services for mobile phones, suitable for the tourism industry.

During the autumn of 2010 the work of E-teams in Sweden decided to make a mobile map and mobile guide for Roslagen hiking path. Then the idea of developing a package around a bicycle route emerged.

In Estonia the project provided entrepreneurs with an opportunity to develop. It also provided an opportunity to internationalize co-operation. The project has led to a new development plan for Läänama tourism. The project has given good knowledge for coming activities on different levels. Especially appreciated is the joint marketing and the project’s technical product – the mobile guide.

Advice

Hire a skilled consultant as cluster coach, who is familiar with the industry and the situation of the entrepreneurs. Get the entrepreneurs to unite around a common idea or vision. Help them to develop and package their services and products. Offer them necessary knowledge in technical support, pricing, marketing, market analysis. Encourage them to do joint marketing, online magazines, mobile application and trade expos. Increased marketing opportunities as a group instead of as fifteen separate companies.

Combining theory-practice

It has been immensely valuable to have researchers in the project who have been able to follow the development and give input at the right moment. At the beginning of the project researchers made overviews of gender relations in the various countries that showed similarities and differences. Later, researchers analysed the concept Quadruple Helix and especially what the non-profit organisations brought in the process of cluster building. The technical research was based on the entrepreneurs’ activities’ and built up an application according to their needs. It was a long time quite unclear what this part would lead to but it was still interesting for entrepreneurs to reflect about their businesses from a technical point of view. At the end the application became very real, considered needed and added value to the project.

Advice

In a clustering should be included various kinds of researchers. According to the surveys made in the project very small business owners usually do not have a single contact with researchers or specialist and to facilitate such contacts is essential in building clusters. A cluster will be constantly evolving.

Gender Mainstreaming

Gender researchers focused on entrepreneurship and practitioners, the county administrative board gender expert and women resource centre BalticFem were involved in the project. Jointly the project possessed broad expertise on gender equality. The project followed up the entrepreneurs in the tourism industry in three countries from a gender perspective. It was found out that the industry was dominated by women, many small self-employed or small businesses. Government relations were characterized by inspection and regulatory constraints. They had the most contact with regard to compliance with environmental and health administrative regulations, building permit regulations.

Advice

When the cluster is built it should be supported and monitored by local and regional authorities. It is important that authorities and others are just as willing to support female-dominated industries as male-dominated. They should recognize that innovation and development can take place even in the new female-dominated industries and the actors should take women in business seriously and not discriminate against women with regard to loans, land, investment and grants. Often the differences between men and women in business disappear after several years of operation.

The technical perspective

The task of Åbo Akademi University was to introduce new innovative means to promote entrepreneurs in the archipelago in the three countries. In these areas the electronic infrastructure is often weakly developed so mobile phone applications are a great addition.

A mobile guide for tourists has been developed as part of the project. The application provides information about interesting tourism targets. Developing such an application implicates difficulties as data comes from three different databases and combining them in the projects database/server, which is a challenge since all three countries have their own way to range their data. Another challenge is to make the application work and being up to date without constant Internet connectivity.

At the beginning of the project we believed that the application would be ready and up and running during the project but that was not the case. The task was larger and more complex than anyone realized initially. The application is truly a concrete product of the project and something that will really give entrepreneurs a joint marketing boost when in use.

Advice

It always takes longer than you think to develop new things. If you are dependent on getting other actors cooperating before you can start building your product. Make sure you have enough time so you can benefit from the product in the actual project. It is always possible to try and get the product sustainable and run by someone else (like a consortium of participants) after the project but then it will be difficult to evaluate the effect of the product within the project period.

Thus, achievements of the project are:

  • strengthened local, regional and international cooperation
  • development and action plans
  • networking
  • common marketing by mobile guide
  • good studies and analysis made by the project
  • opportunities for future cooperation
  • involvement of authorities, research and NGOs
Weaknesses and threats:
  • short time and many objectives at the same time
  • difficult to motivate entrepreneurs
  • international cooperation is not achieved yet fully
  • weak local networks
  • language problems (not everyone speaks English)
  • future cooperation may not evolve because of lack of money or low interest – that could be a threat.

Cluster building and experience of the work in entrepreneur teams

SofiapresentationavE-teams

During a Quadruple conference in spring 2010 a workshop brainstorming was carried out with an idea to find out local and cross boarder clusters in three countries. Finland and Estonia already had an identified platform in the form of a Ringroad or circle road in the archipelago. In Sweden there was a hiking path and one idea was that it could serve as a platform for the cooperation. Slowly an idea was born of preparing a digital map and guide showing where to stay and what to see in connection to this hiking path. However, not all local entrepreneurs were represented on this hiking path, so an idea of cycling tourism would be more flexible and therefore suit better. When it was decided that the E-team network should be built upon bicycling tourism and bicycle packages and also focus the ICT work of Sweden on developing a mobile bicycle guide, the group work became very active. In a series of workshops an inventory was made in order to identify places to be visited; a plan was developed how to market, cooperate and do business with each other. The Project group started drawing possible routes for a bicycle map, identifying roads with less traffic and places for staying.

SofiapresentationavE-teams

The project would support with mobile applications but in Roslagen there was not even a paper based map and making a mobile application was a big step. Since a paper based map was also needed the project group developed it together with a brochure describing eight travel packages.

The paper map show bike routes and is financed through advertisement. 5000 copies was printed and they have already run out. The map is bilingual: Swedish-English. Also a brochure (Swedish) has been developed – an E-team product with eight bicycle packages, accommodations, guide and recommendation. These brochures were printed by the entrepreneurs’ network. So a network has developed from a loose cooperation network to a business network. Members of the E-team participate on fairs and advertise together. Sofia stated that the network is strong, but it can be developed and become even stronger after the project has ended.

After the presentation it was pointed out by several participants that language is a big obstacle for tourism. Promotional materials should be multi-lingual in order to attract foreign tourists.

NGO Läänemaa Tourism is an NGO with a purpose of developing and marketing the Lääne county as a pleasant destination for tourism. They are providing tourism information services: webpage, maps, and information leaflets. The NGO is working with its 37 members consisting of 12 municipalities and tourism entrepreneurs (accommodation, museums, catering etc).

The main focus of Läänemaa Tourism is how to develop new tourism services and products, increase profits and employment; also, how to be more known in the nearest markets such as Finland, Sweden, Russia, etc. Answers to all these challenges they found in cluster cooperation which is a way to develop business and the destination.

In order for the Lääne county cluster to be stronger they realised that they needed a strategy. They started by developing an action plan with a bottom-up approach since the views of entrepreneurs and municipalities differ. First steps were to make research and determine needs. This was followed by strategy seminars involving hot disputes. It was difficult to get a common understanding but later on the process became smoother.

The process resulted in a clear action plan until 2013. It offers five main tourism products (history and culture, recreation, nature, events, active holiday).

Benefits from Quadruple project for the Lääne area tourism cluster are:

  • Coordinated cross-border cooperation between entrepreneurs
  • New investors can get an overview of the county
  • Municipalities joined forces with entrepreneurs and other civil services

The Läänemaa Tourism believes that even if some stakeholders, leaders or politicians might change during the implementation process, the sustainable tourism development and marketing will continue.

After the presentation questions regarding tourism strategies in partner countries were discussed:

The municipality of Norrtälje stated that in the tourism sector of Roslagen four municipalities work together under the umbrella organisation Destination Roslagen . Each municipality is responsible for its own tourism information centres. A new company is to be established. This company will be private with a focus on both local and international markets (Germany, England, Holland, etc).

Saaremaa actors stated that there are two umbrella organisation related to tourism on the island. There has been an initiative to start a new joint umbrella organisation but so far it’s just being discussed because of lack of finances.

Hiiumaa actors stated that a tourism strategy is under development. A similar process with that in Läänemaa has started. A tourism strategy has to be developed with focus on local circumstances.

An introduction to the Quadruple project and its focus areas

Sofiaprojektintro

Quadruple is an excellent example of successful cooperation of various public authorities, universities, entrepreneurs and NGO’s in order to develop methods for promoting women entrepreneurship. Among the partners are:

Sofiaprojektintro

  • Municipality of Norrtälje
  • Stockholm County administrative board
  • KTH (Royal Institute of Technology)
  • Åbo Akademi University
  • Saaremaa University Centre
  • Läänemaa Tourism
  • BalticFem
  • Eurohouse

Quadruple joins three themes into one project

  • 1st theme / work package is developing strategies how to support female entrepreneurs (policy influence part)
  • 2nd theme is clustering – building networks among tourism entrepreneurs
  • 3rd theme is responsible for information and communication technologies, ICT, and mobile services in particular.

A question that often arises when new people are introduced to the project is how these different themes are merged and integrated and what the story line is. Sofia Händel therefore explained the project structure and why the three areas gender mainstreaming, clustering and ICT are joined in the project. The basis of the project was Malin Lindberg’s study on how public promotion of clusters and innovation systems in Sweden are distributed. This study shows that:

  • 47% of funds support Basic industries/Manufacturing industries
  • 33% of funds support New technology
  • 20% of funds support Services/ Experiences

The gender distribution divided in branches of industry is as follows:

Gender distribution Branches of industry
Men dominated
(over 60%) 

ICT, Vehicles & machinery, Mining & metal, Chemistry, Forestry, Telecom, Transports, Other industry, Agriculture, Manufacturing industry, Steel, Biotech, Wood, Data technology, Electronics

→ New technology + Basic Industry/Manufacturing

Balanced
(max 60%) 

Health care, Consumer goods/Commerce, Media & entertainement, Services, Textiles, Tourism

→ Services/Experiences

Women dominated
(over 60%) 

Biomed, Healthcare, Personal services, Education & research, Retail trade

→ Services/Experiences

These figures were the background for the project. It was clear that something had to be changed. The project recognized this gender gap in public funding and uses two measures in its structure to overbuild the gap: 1. Inclusion – meaning doing business promotion and cluster initiatives in sectors which gets less support 2. Bridging where men and women dominated sector are merged and by this a gender balance is achieved. These two measures are build into the project structure and means following in practise:

INCLUSION

Inclusion of sectors employing many women in the public support to clusters and innovation systems.

– The Quadruple project includes tourism industry

and

BRIDGING

The measure of ‘bridging’ highlights innovation systems and clusters that manage to bridge the gap between men dominated, women dominated and gender balanced branches of industry.

– The Quadruple project combines tourism (gender balanced) and ICT (men dominated).

Thus, by summarizing the main features of the project we can define Quadruple as:

Gender equality + clusters+ ICT = Quadruple!

Main achievements of the project

Quadruple has:

  • Initiated small scale clusters / networks in the tourist sector
  • Developed the Quadruple MobiTourist app
  • Elaborated gender research and the Quadruple Helix method

Dissemination Conference

  • An introduction to the Quadruple project and its focus areas
  • Cluster building and experience of the work in entrepreneur teams
  • Cluster curriculum
  • Workshop: How to promote female entrepreneurship and clustering?
  • ICT Research and applying a SME perspective on development of mobile services
  • Launch of the Quadruple MobiTourist mobile application and website
  • Quadruple Helix as a method to promote women’s entrepreneurship
  • A study of the conditions for women’s entrepreneurship in the Estonian Entrepreneurial environment
  • Workshop: How do we contunue the cross border cluster from here?

A Study of the Conditions for Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Estonian Entrepreneurial Environment

Report from the Quadruple Helix Central Baltic project of the Central Baltic Interreg IV A Programme

By

Anneli Kikkas
OÜ Viirekaare
© Saaremaa University Centre

1. Introduction

This study was carried out on the order of the Saaremaa University Centre in the framework of the Quadruple Helix project of the Central Baltic Interreg IV A programme the aim of which is to develop and strengthen the Baltic Sea region, stimulating clusters of the tourism sector and developing innovative support measures in the mobile telephony of the tourism sector and social networking among female entrepreneurs.

The lead partner of the Quadruple Helix project is the Municipality of Norrtälje (Sweden), other partners are: Stockholm County Administrative Board (Sweden), BalticFem (Sweden), Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden), Åbo Akademi University (Finland), Eurohouse (Estonia), Läänemaa Tourism Association (Estonia).

The aim of this study is to analyse conditions for women’s entrepreneurship in the Estonian entrepreneurial environment. Nowadays we hear more and more often about gender inequality and discrimination, especially against women, which is why this study is focused on the conditions for women’s entrepreneurship.

Also, this study forms a basis for developing and completing the Quadruple Helix innovation model that the project partner Royal Institute of Technology from Sweden is in charge of. This will be developed on the basis of data collected from studies in three countries: Estonia (this report), Finland (Levin, 2010) and Sweden (Skoglund, 2011). The main platform for compiling the model is the initiation of collaborative networks and cluster processes between four sectors: public sector, private sector, academic sector and civil society or the so-called third sector.

The study uses qualitative methods with focus on oral interviews with female entrepreneurs. Altogether 23 women were interviewed and the interviews were carried out all over Estonia. Additionally, data from the Statistical Office, results from studies carried out by the Ministry of Social Affairs, and other various studies that have explored women’s entrepreneurship in Estonia.

Download and read the report: 
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