I’m in favour of tailored support for anyone in business who needs it. Businesses and entrepreneurs have differing needs, and support should be tailored according to those needs. I’m different from other female entrepreneurs just as much as I’m different from male entrepreneurs and I don’t want to be pigeon-holed as needing “special support” because I’m a woman. If I want support for my business I want it to be a bespoke package of support, something that works for me, my team, my business and my customers specifically, not a generic off-the-shelf package aimed at “women”. How can that possibly be effective?
Michelle Rodger – Bloom VC
Yes – because it works! There is a wealth of evidence which shows that female-focused business support, training and access to services leads to more women participating and results in more successful outcomes in terms of business growth. And it’s important to remember that many women’s personal circumstances, particularly at start-up, may mean that they have lower levels of confidence and self-belief, which stop them from participating in mainstream support. Tailored support can play an important role in helping women to overcome these and to ensure they’re able to take advantage of the mainstream services on offer in the longer term.
Jackie Brierton – Women’s Enterprise Scotland
Yes, BUT only in certain circumstances or headings, it depends on the type of business and the issues faced. For example I had additional support when raising investment and dealing with a male dominated Board, both are well known hurdles for women.
Tanya Ewing – Bloom VC
Set out a vision of what you want to achieve, what kind if support you would like and a lot if guys will because let’s face it the existing one isn’t much good is it?
Iain Scott – Scotpreneur
Women are not homogenous and will approach entrepreneurship very differently from men. Those coming from high powered roles or from a background of enterprise find the transition from corporate to a male-dominated business environment quite seamless. But those women coming from further down the corporate ladder or from a background where no one is in business, they will require more hand holding in the earlier stages of development. They will have to be carefully navigated through the different business life cycles especially if their business is operating around caring duties and family responsibilities.Based on this, I believe support is not just about talent and qualifications; cultural and gender issues have a serious impact on the confidence and capabilities of the business owner and ultimately the long term sustainability and viability of the business.
Sonia Brown MBE – NBWN