Minister's demand

Low level of female startups ‘should provoke action’

Mairi McAllan
Mairi McAllan: ‘We must address the gap’ (pic: Terry Murden / DB Media Services)

Wellbeing Economy Secretary Màiri McAllan told a business audience tonight that the small proportion of women running companies in Scotland must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Addressing the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, she reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackle the gender gap with almost £3 million of investment over two years.

Her comments came a week before International Women’s Day and a year since the publication of Ana Stewart’s report Pathways: a new approach for women in entrepreneurship.

Ms McAllan said: “There is an enduring gender gap in entrepreneurial participation in Scotland and we must address that.

“Only one in five Scottish businesses are led by women, and start-ups founded by women only receive 2% of investment capital. This should provoke us to act. 

“This financial year we awarded £1.3 million to 20 programmes across the country through our Pathways Pre-Start Fund with a further £1.5 million allocated to further implementation of the Pathways recommendations in the next financial year.

“Scotland should be a great place for us all to do business, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or background.”

Her comments came as a new report from PwC revealed that Scotland has been named the best place for women to work in the UK.

The country moved up two places to the top spot in the Women in Work Index produced by PwC for the UK’s nations and regions.

Mairi McInnes, PwC Scotland’s place and purpose lead, said: “It’s heartening to see Scotland not only retain what has become its usual top-three spot, but rank first in terms of women’s employment outcomes.

“It is also particularly encouraging to see that the closure in the participation gap between men and women in Scotland is largely due to more women entering the workforce, as opposed to being a result of men exiting employment.”

Chamber Awards

See also:

First speech: My bottom line is your bottom line.

Comment: McAllan must be a Secretary for Growth

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