Women's enterprise

WES unveils new ‘role model’ ambassadors

Carolyn Currie: ‘tough to be what you cannot see’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Women’s Enterprise Scotland, which works to close the gender gap, has added 35 ‘ambassadors’ who will act as role models to other women looking to start and grow their own business.

The new intake takes the WES Ambassador cohort to more than 70, representing most sectors of the economy.

Carolyn Currie, chief executive, said: “Research consistently shows that visible role models are vital for the development – and aspirations – of women’s businesses.

“Putting it simply, it’s tough to be what you cannot see. Role models help to challenge the gender biases and stereotypes which women come up against on their business journey and provide much needed inspiration to push through obstacles.

“Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that women are able to access the gender specific support they need to start and grow their own businesses.

“The current state of play is allowing billions of pounds to be left on the table that could be contributing to our economy.  A gender balanced business ecosystem is crucial to our post pandemic economic recovery and the visible, relatable role models which our Ambassadors represent play a huge part in this.”

Research by the Federation of Small Businesses and Office for National Statistics reveals that the number of women-owned businesses in Scotland is falling, now representing just 14% of SME employer businesses, compared with 20.6% in 2017.

WES produced policy briefs during 2020 demonstrating the disproportionate impact which the Covid-19 pandemic has had on women-owned businesses. Typically being small businesses with limited resources, these businesses were especially vulnerable to the disruption caused by the pandemic.

According to the Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, three-quarters of women found managing their businesses stressful during the pandemic, compared to just over half their male peers.

Research published in March 2021 by the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women showed that over 80% of women surveyed (83.8%) reported that the pandemic had a negative impact on their business, while nearly four in ten (38.5%) reported that their business will or may have to close as a result.

New WES Ambassadors

Aileen Boyle, Fortro Ltd

Alison Grieve, G-Hold

Ann-Maree Morrison, Labels4Kids Ltd

Anna Bell, Anna Bell Coaching

Ayse B. Cinar Lowe, To Be The One Coaching

Bayile Adeoti, Dechomai

Carolyn Jones, Anatomical Concepts

Cathy Craig, Argyll & Isles Tourism Co-operative

Charlotte Martin, Tap 2 Pointe & BabyBallet

Christine Esson, Scottish Business Network

Anya Kuenen-Perkins, Hoko Design

Dia Banerji, Imagine Ventures

Anya Kuenen-Perkins, Hoko Design

Dr Claudia M. Duffy, Innovare IP and IP BLOKS

Elaine Baxter, Boutique Innovation Ltd

Erica Moore, eteaket Ltd

Jacine Rutasikwa, Matugga Distillers Ltd

Jane Ireland, Slanj Loch Lomond

Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott, Strath Communications Ltd

Jing Peng, Bowbridge Properties

Jo Watts, Effini

Julia Latif, Our House of Spice

Juliet Ibhanesebhor, Sap-kreations Ltd

Kate Hooper, StrategyStory

Kerry Cowan, SkillSeeder

Kirsty Thomson, The Circle

Laura Middlemass, Plexus Corp (UK)Ltd

Lesley Landels, Love Scottish

Liberty Bligh, Libertie Consulting

Mary Turner Thomson, The Book Whisperers (CIC)

Rachel Jones, SnapDragon Monitoring Ltd

Rachel Rowley, Ballintaggart

Rowan Morrison, Rationale

Sacha Woolham, The Strategy Collective

Susie Lowe, Susie Lowe Studio

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