Growth and Finance

In research undertaken by Women’s Enterprise Scotland in early 2017, women wishing to grow their businesses felt they often faced a hierarchy of growth support available - impacting growth momentum, causing frustration and hampering the realisation of associated economic benefits. Women stated they sometimes felt pressure to conform to ‘traditional’ norms of ‘growth businesses’, including taking on early stage investment, which did not suit them.

As a key part of supporting women in enterprise, partners in the Framework are committed to –

  • Supporting Investing Women’s Scotland wide ambition and growth workshops and events and promoting the stories of success.

  • Working with financial institutions and initiatives, to explore the provision of microcredit for women at early stage business creation.

  • Ensuring that the Scotland CAN DO approach investigates all opportunities to support growth initiatives for women led businesses.

  • Seeking to ensure greater participation of women’s businesses in the innovation process, including access to innovation support, and support with exporting and internationalisation.

We are working with a range of partner organisations to improve access to finance for women-owned businesses.  This work includes progressing innovative approaches to funding such as unsecured lending and business angel investment, in addition to providing consultancy services on equality impact assessment for the new Scottish National Investment Bank.

We have also trained bank staff and economic development staff in Scotland and other areas of the UK on the benefits of a more gender-aware approach to business support delivery.

See below for some of the organisations we are partnering with to improve access to finance for women-owned businesses.

Access to Finance: European Women’s Business Angel Network

Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) is participating in an exciting European project working to improve access to finance for women-owned businesses through business angel investment. WES has been appointed to the project consortium as an expert organisation in women’s entrepreneurship, access to finance and business angel funding. Our partners include women's associations, chambers of commerce and other industry bodies in Europe.


Together, we are growing the numbers of business angels and business angel syndicates which fund women-owned businesses. To deliver this work, WES and project partners are working with existing business angels, prospective business angels and women-owned businesses in countries including Greece, Italy, Hungary, Slovenia Bulgaria and Cyprus.


Women can struggle to access funding for their business. Recent research by the British Business Bank shows that for every £1 of venture capital  investment in the UK, all-female founder teams get less than 1p, all-male founder teams get 89p, and mixed-gender teams 10p. Business angel funding can be attractive for women-owned  businesses looking to grow, especially with the mentoring support which can be available from investors.


Scotland is well placed to lead the way in developing angel investment for women-led businesses. It supports a thriving business angel investor community including Investing Women, an all-female investing group and other mixed groups supportive of women-owned businesses.


The European project consortium has researched international best practice, including best practice developed here in Scotland and the UK to develop training programmes. Free online programmes are available for women interested in becoming business angel investors and for women-owned businesses considering taking on investment for growth. Face -to-face preparatory workshops for both prospective investors and women-owned businesses are also available. Following our first round of training delivery, our Meet the Investors event saw 20 women-owned businesses pitch a wide variety of innovative business opportunities to investors, followed by an engaging and interactive networking session. 


Business organisations and individuals interested in collaborating to develop this work further are warmly encouraged to contact us. Women-owned businesses wanting to be kept informed on funding opportunities from this project work, please register here. Men and women interested in gaining the skills required to become an angel investor, please register here to be kept up to date on training opportunities.


We look forward to meeting you and working together to extend the reach of the vibrant business angel community here in Scotland and the UK.

To be kept informed of funding opportunities from this project, please register here:

If you're interested in learning more about becoming an angel investor in this project, please register here:

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