Holyrood commission

Stewart confirmed as chair of women’s enterprise review

Ana Stewart
Ana Stewart: helping to address barriers (pic: Terry Murden)

Scottish entrepreneur and investor Ana Stewart has been confirmed as chair of the Scottish Government-commissioned Women in Enterprise Review.

The Stewart review, announced earlier this month by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, will focus on a number of areas including education, access to finance and funding, and advice, support, and mentoring for women in business in Scotland. 

Ms Stewart said: “We have set out to examine current conditions, and to then make recommendations on any perceived gender gap in business ownership and opportunity in Scotland. 

“The report will recommend short, medium, and longer term interventions aimed at helping to address any barriers facing women in enterprise.”

Ms Stewart is also placing importance on delivering robust and resilient data sets, so progress can be benchmarked and measured over the coming years. 

She said: “Utilising resilient and relevant data to inform the review and act as the template for the measurement beyond is going to be key.  As they say, what gets measured gets done.”

The Women in Enterprise Review is set to close its discovery phase in April, with full findings and recommendations expected by the end of September. 

Judy Wagner of FWB, Jackie Waring of Accelerateher and Gemma Hamilton of Business Growth Fund have joined the Review team to provide support. 

The Scottish Government has committed funding of £50 million over the course of the next parliament to support women in enterprise.

Ms Stewart founded and floated IT specialist i-design Group, subsequently acquired by US-based ATM group Cardtronics Inc in 2013. She is a non-executive director and shareholder in the AIM-quoted ready meals service Parsley Box and with the Scottish Football Association.

Her other roles include sitting on the boards of online pet wellness startup Bella & Duke and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland (ICAS).  She is partner with St Andrews-based investment firm Eos Advisory.

Online support

AccelerateHER and Scottish Enterprise have teamed up to launch an online training initiative designed to support the growing number of female business founders in Scotland. 

Using the Thinkific platform, AccelerateHER will now deliver its series of finance workshops as pre-recorded sessions so that female founders can learn at a time that suits them.

The first workshop series, ‘Understanding your Accounts’ builds greater awareness of profit and loss, balance sheets, and cashflow forecasting.

The second workshop series focuses on raising equity funding for high growth businesses and is led by entrepreneur and Investing Women Angels Managing Director, Evelyn Simpson. 

Funded by Scottish Enterprise, the online platform will enable more female founders, especially those in more remote locations, to access AccelerateHER workshops which were previously delivered live, at specific dates and times. 

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