Research and Policy
To help realise our ambition for women who are either in business or hoping to set up in business in Scotland and beyond, Women’s Enterprise Scotland has a strong, on-going focus on policy influence and development.
Working in Scotland
In 2014, in partnership with the Scottish Government, we co-founded the Scottish Framework and Action Plan for Women’s Enterprise. We continue to be a key advisor to the Scottish Government and the Women in Enterprise Implementation Group.
Since 2012, WES has conducted biennial surveys of women in business across Scotland, using the results from the surveys to inform responses to policy and practice developments in Scotland and beyond.
WES has also conducted research, using focus group evidence, telephone interviews and online questionnaires to find out more about the experiences of women either in business or looking to set up in business. WES has also included a range of business support agencies in its research to explore practice developments in business support across Scotland.
Visit the Research page for more information.
Cross Party Group
WES set up the Cross Party Group for Women in Enterprise which meets quarterly in the Scottish Parliament.
This group was set up to -
Establish a forum for the sharing of experiences and information on the position of women in enterprise in Scotland;
Enable discussion and debate on the gender gap in enterprise, and seek solutions on how this might be tackled;
Bring partners together with an interest in women and enterprise to develop a collaborative approach towards working together.
Working across the UK
WES is a member of the UK Women in Enterprise Policy Group which brings together experts across enterprise and academia to work together, share knowledge and experience, and campaign for a better policy landscape for women in business across the UK. Our recent policy brief can be read here.
WES has also provided consultancy services to the Welsh Government for development of their framework for Women in Enterprise in Wales in 2019.
In 2018, WES, in partnership with Portsmouth University, undertook research for the Federation of Small Businesses into the Economic Case for Women's Enterprise in the UK. While women are just 20% of the business base in Scotland, the research found that these businesses contribute £8.8bn Gross Value Add (GVA) into the Scottish economy each year. In context, that significant level of economic contribution exceeds the GVA from many of the "Growth" sectors including Food & Drink (£5.3bn); Creative Industries (£4.4bn); Sustainable Tourism (£3.9bn) and Life Sciences (£1.5bn).
WES is a member of the Think 20, the "ideas bank" of the National Governments across the world comprising the G20. See the policy brief here - A Gendered Perspective on Changing Demographics: Implications for Labour, Financial and Digital Equity
WES has a number of connections across the global community of enterprise. WES is a founding member of the WeGate Council supporting women’s entrepreneurship across Europe. WES also works with WE Connect – an international global network that connects women owned businesses with buyers.
From the research delivered by WES and other organisations over the years, we believe that gender-aware needs based support, designed by women-owned businesses for women-owned businesses, can begin to close the current gender gap in enterprise participation and ownership - significantly boosting the existing economic contribution and creating an environment where more women and girls can start up in business and thrive.