A mentoring group has been launched today aiming to help women in business and recognise they often have to cope with specific challenges of gender bias and family pressures.
In recent research by Women’s Enterprise Scotland, mentoring was cited by 52% of respondents as the leading support area critical to business growth. A further 82% said that having a mentor had made a difference to their business.
‘Women’s Business Mentoring’ is backed by a number of high profile Scots who intend to use their connections to provide support to female entrepreneurs.
The initiative is being promoted by Liz Cameron of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Carolyn Currie of Women’s Enterprise Scotland, Jeanette Forbes of PCL Group, Poonam Gupta of PG Paper, Marie Macklin of Macklin Partnerships and Petra Wetzel of WEST Brewery.
A dedicated website will help prospective businesses find a mentor, attend events and access key resources.
Marie Macklin, executive chairman, Macklin Partnerships, said: “It can be a long, hard road to the top. We’ve all had someone who supported us when we needed it most and showed us the way. It’s only right that we find time to give back and help the leaders of the future fulfil their true potential.”
Liz Cameron, director & chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said the group’s approach is “innovative and fresh” and is all about tapping into the talents and experience of successful women entrepreneurs and matching them with ambitious, driven and aspiring women in business.
Research shows that women seek out business advice in the form of mentoring and coaching rather than on a consultancy basis, said Carolyn Currie, chief operating officer at Women’s Enterprise Scotland.
“Only 20% of Scottish SME’s are majority-led by women, yet we know that if women started businesses at the same rate as men, this would contribute an additional £7.6bn to Scotland’s economy.”
Petra Wetzel, chief Executive of West Brewery in Glasgow said that having a mentor “can add immense value to personal development”
She added: “I view mentoring as a valuable asset which can bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and insight to a business.”
Poonam Gupta, chief executive of PG Paper, said: “Mentoring is all about collaboration, unlocking ideas and talents that an add value to your business and to your life. For many women in business, these talents and ideas can often be overlooked, holding them back and preventing contributions to our economy. That’s why this campaign is so appealing.”