There is a consistent gender deficit in business ownership in Scotland (and the UK as a whole), with fewer than one in five enterprises female-owned. We need a focus on women’s enterprise, therefore, for a number of reasons:
1) because our economy urgently needs the energy, innovation and commitment that women can bring, and which is currently under-represented
2) we need a more diverse business base to match the increasing diversity of our population and business sectors – and more women are needed to drive this
3) we need to provide a constant reminder to young women that enterprise and business are viable career options and that there are role models they can identify with and
4) the growth potential of existing female-owned businesses must be exploited if our economy is to recover and grow sustainably in the future.
Entrepreneurs see the world the way they want it to be and not the way it is. Once you start playing the existing game you become complicit . The only way to achieve that is to aim for radical change. If you go down the women specific route you will always be sidelined.
Iain Scott – Scotpreneur
No, I don’t think we do. I think we need a focus on enterprise in general, not just women’s enterprise. Running a business is a challenge for everybody, and I don’t believe it’s easier or harder depending on gender. The government is relying on entrepreneurs to kickstart the economy and that’s a huge task. I don’t think we should discriminate, whether some people see that as positive discrimination or not, on grounds of gender.
Michelle Rodger – Bloom VC
There has been a strong focus on supporting growth businesses at the expense of start-ups yet the Ministers for Women continually talk about the 150,000+ new businesses that would be started if we opened businesses at the same rate as men. In my humble opinion, what they should be talking about is the financial loss to the economy by not improving the environment in which women start their business. We need to get back to the economic case for the women in business especially as the economy has more or less flat lined.
Sonia Brown MBE – NBWN
No – I have been in a bubble for the last 7 years working on commercialising my invention so only now coming up for air to find out what is going on out there. I was pregnant, registered disabled and not worked for 6 years when I started out. At no point during my journey did I come across any prejudice only encouragement from all sectors, fantastic support for all aspects of my challenges – so my feeling right now is focus should be on the big heading of Enterprise. This opinion however may change after this conference.
Tanya Ewing – Bloom VC