Female business owners seek enterprise support, finance and market opportunities

Angela and Margaret

Angela Constance MSP and WES CEO Margaret Gibson

Over 80% of entrepreneurial businesswomen in Scotland want to grow their businesses and are actively seeking access to enterprise support, finance and market opportunities, a new survey has a revealed.

Launching the Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) Survey of Women-Owned Businesses 2014 on Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, WES CEO Margaret Gibson said:

“The majority of women are running microbusinesses, employing fewer than ten staff, and our survey results show that personal savings were the main source of business finance in the last twelve months for this group, with only 12% accessing public funds. The general perception was that investment for future business growth was more problematic.

In addition, respondents indicated a clear preference for flexible business support, where a selection of services were available rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Importantly, this support should be enhanced by providing a range of appropriate role models and mentors, who can inspire and encourage other women.

The launch of the survey also incorporates the introduction of the second group of Women’s Enterprise Scotland Ambassadors, who can do exactly that. They will inspire, motivate, engage and connect with women-led start-up and growth businesses.”

The survey of women-owned businesses was designed to provide insights into the current business environment in Scotland, with a particular focus on each of the key action areas contained within the Framework and Action Plan for Women’s Enterprise, which was launched in March 2014 by Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, John Swinney MSP and Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Women’s Employment, Angela Constance MSP.

Group sitting

Margaret Gibson, WES; Leah Hutcheon, Appointedd; Lynne Mann, Supernature Oils; Angela Constance MSP; Shelagh Swanson, Oil and Glass; Dr Bharti Rajput, Sole Body Soul; Jackie Brierton, WES

Attending the launch to meet the new group of Ambassadors, Ms Constance said:

“Tackling the gender-gap in enterprise is a key commitment of this Government and a significant focus of Scotland CAN DO, our national statement of intent towards becoming a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation. Women-led businesses contribute more than £5 billion towards the Scottish economy but we know that if rates of women-led businesses equaled that of men, the contribution to Scotland’s GVA would increase to £13 billion.”

“It is encouraging to see that rates of women participating in enterprise have been increasing in recent years. These survey results underline the need for the collaborative work of the Women in Enterprise Implementation Group. By working together we will continue to improve the diversity and quality of support that is available. This will ensure that all of Scotland’s people are better enabled to take part in and benefit from economic activity, delivering a truly CAN DO Scotland.”

Margaret Kennedy, Regional Director of Business Banking Scotland at the Royal Bank of Scotland said:

“At RBS, we are proud to lead the way as the pioneering Bank for women’s enterprise. We have seen a tangible increase in the number of women starting up in business, and for many, it’s a big decision with a number of challenges to overcome. Recognising these unique challenges and the contribution that women business owners make to the economy, RBS has a network of over 200 externally accredited Women in Business specialists across the UK offering specialist support, practical guidance and networking opportunities to female entrepreneurs. And through the RBS Inspiring Women in Enterprise programme, we have committed to inspire and enable 20,000 women to unlock their enterprise potential by 2015, through access to training, support and expertise. We are proud to work closely with organisations like Women’s Enterprise Scotland that also promote and support women’s enterprise”.
The survey revealed:

  • 80,000 women are registered business owners in Scotland
  • 94,000 women are self-employed
  • 21% of SMEs are led by women
  • 82% of women want to grow their businesses, and 29% want to grow rapidly
  • Women-led businesses contribute more than £5 billion towards the Scottish economy
  • If rates of women-led businesses equaled that of men, the contribution to Scotland’s GVA would increase to £13 billion

The Scottish Framework and Action Plan for Women’s Enterprise can be downloaded from http://www.wescotland.co.uk

Any women-owned businesses can send information to be included in the gallery of women-owned businesses.  All you need to do is send us a 150-200 word description of the business, some good quality images and website details to  info@wescotland.co.uk

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