I’ve been keeping a secret from you – sorry about that. But now it’s officially I can scream and shout about it.
On Tuesday 13th May Annabelle Ewing, MSP, Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment announced the next group of Women’s Enterprise Scotland Ambassadors to delegates of the Woman’s Enterprise Scotland Conference and International Think Tank and I’m thoroughly delighted to say I was one of the chosen few.
The launch event was attended by international experts in women’s enterprise and researchers, policy makers and business support practitioners from across Scotland.
21% of SMEs are led by women
The Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) programme features the stories of female entrepreneurs in Scotland in order to inspire, motivate, engage and connect female entrepreneurs with women-led start-up and growth businesses. They offer support to those already trading, to help them grow. They advise and educate external partners and advocate for gender-specific enterprise support.
80,000 women are registered business owners in Scotland
This Ambassador project is one of a number of actions contained in the Scottish Framework and Action Plan for Women’s Enterprise, which was launched on 4th March 2014 by Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, John Swinney MSP and Minister for Youth Employment, Angela Constance MSP (you can download a copy here).
Real life role models, the ambassadors, represent all that’s brilliant about women-led business, from multi-national to micro business. These are women who are already leading the way, providing inspiration and motivation for many more of us to follow in their entrepreneurial footsteps.
94,000 women are self-employed
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.
Women-led businesses contribute more than £5 billion towards the Scottish economy
So, now you know the background you can imagine how delighted I was when I was approached to become an ambassador. After the initial “why me?” I realised that I probably did have a good story to tell. Even if I only said one thing that helped one women progress then it would be worthwhile. You’ve heard the phrase “pay it forward” well, that’s exactly what I’m doing and I hope if you ever get the chance to do the same you’ll find the time to do so.
So, watch this space – I’ll share some of the journey on the blog and I hope you’ll join me on the way.