Conference and International Think Tank

Tuesday 12th May 2015

Developing women’s enterprise is critically important for overall business prosperity. Research shows that if the numbers of women led businesses in Scotland increased to equal those of men, our national bank balance would grow by at least 5% or £7.6 billion. Despite progress in recent years, women remain less likely than men to start a business, and the vast majority of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK are run by men.

International evidence shows that inequality has a negative impact on long-term economic growth and prosperity. The OECD estimate that rising income inequality in the UK reduced GDP per capita growth by 9 percentage points between 1990 and 2010. The importance of tacking inequality is addressed by Scotland’s economic strategy and WES has worked with the Scottish Government to develop the Women in Enterprise Framework & Action Plan. The WES Framework is unique in Europe – there’s no other country which has an action plan on women’s enterprise support, developed and implemented by a committed multi-organisation partnership.

As part of the existing Women’s Enterprise Framework implementation plan, WES is now seeking to identify the activity for the next phase of women’s enterprise support development and economic growth in Scotland. Applying international best practice and emerging research to continue the global leading work being done here in Scotland and consign the enterprise gender gap to history.
To launch this next phase an event will be held at the RBS Business School, Gogar, Edinburgh on the morning of Tuesday 12 May. The programme will start at 9.30 and will include networking, an address by Annabelle Ewing MSP, Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment, a session with renowned futurologist Anna Lise Kjaer and the launch of the new cadre of Women’s Enterprise Scotland Ambassadors. The event will close at 12 noon for lunch and a further opportunity to network.

The launch event will be attended by international experts in women’s enterprise and researchers, policy makers and business support practitioners from across Scotland. An opportunity for all those involved in enterprise in Scotland to learn of future trends analysis and to collaborate in further growing women’s enterprise across Scotland. The event will also reveal the next cadre of Women’s Enterprise Scotland Ambassadors, the critical role model programme established to showcase Scotland’s wealth and range of female entrepreneurial talent.

After the launch event, an invitation-only elite think tank will be convened to examine global best practice and emerging research and identify key areas of focus for growth. Participants in the think tank event include: Julie Weeks a former advisor to the U.S. Congress and President; the acclaimed futurologist, Anne Lise Kjaer; Gunilla Thorstensson, from a ground breaking Swedish programme; Maggie Berry, Chief Executive of international trade/procurement organisation WeConnect Europe; acclaimed academics/researchers, senior enterprise agency staff and senior bankers.

There is no cost to attend this launch event (morning and lunch only) and we anticipate that there will be a high demand for places. Register at

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