Napier and WES unite to help women in business

Lynne Cadenhead: reshaping the narrative (pic: Terry Murden / dbmediaservices.co.uk)

Edinburgh Napier University and Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) are collaborating on a new initiative to support more women in business.

The SDG5 Living Lab will offer tailored training, cutting-edge resources, and networking opportunities for women looking to start a business or further their careers.

As well as drawing on the University’s research, it will be supported by its Entrepreneur in Residence and WES chair Lynne Cadenhead.

The initiative is designed to advance the fifth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG5) set out by the United Nations in 2015, which is gender equality. 

While women-led businesses already contribute £8.8bn to the Scottish economy every year, progress is at risk of stalling. The number of firms led by women declined from 20.6% in 2017 to 14% in 2019, and only nine women-led scale-ups exist in Scotland today.

Delivered by Napier’s enterprise hub, Bright Red Triangle, the first sessions will be held later this month. The initial courses aim to develop participants’ skills around business creation and leadership.

Ms Cadenhead said: “As an Edinburgh Napier graduate, and now a Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence, I’m thrilled to bridge academia and industry, fostering a culture of innovation that empowers women in business. 

“The power of education and entrepreneurship will be pivotal in reshaping the narrative for gender equality.”

Nick Fannin, head of enterprise at Bright Red Triangle, said: “The establishment of the SDG5 Living Lab marks a significant milestone in our commitment to gender equality and societal impact. 

“This collaboration allows us to harness the collective expertise of Edinburgh Napier University and Women’s Enterprise Scotland to drive meaningful change.

“Our vision is to cultivate an environment conducive to entrepreneurial success among women, nurturing the next generation of women leaders and innovators.”

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