SHIFTING GEARS: WOMEN’S ENTERPRISE MOVING ON

CONFERENCE AND INTERNATIONAL THINK TANK, RBS CONFERENCE CENTRE, GOGARBURN, EDINBURGH
Held on Tuesday 12th May 2015

Developing women’s enterprise is critically important for overall business prosperity. Research shows that if the numbers of women led businesses in Scotland increased to equal those of men, our national bank balance would grow by at least 5% or £7.6 billion. Despite progress in recent years, women remain less likely than men to start a business, and the vast majority of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK are run by men.

International evidence shows that inequality has a negative impact on long-term economic growth and prosperity. The OECD estimate that rising income inequality in the UK reduced GDP per capita growth by 9 percentage points between 1990 and 2010. The importance of tacking inequality is addressed by Scotland’s economic strategy and WES has worked with the Scottish Government to develop the Women in Enterprise Framework & Action Plan. The WES Framework is unique in Europe – there’s no other country which has an action plan on women’s enterprise support, developed and implemented by a committed multi-organisation partnership.

As part of the existing Women’s Enterprise Framework implementation plan, WES is now seeking to identify the activity for the next phase of women’s enterprise support development and economic growth in Scotland. Applying international best practice and emerging research to continue the global leading work being done here in Scotland and consign the enterprise gender gap to history.

We were delighted to see so many delegates at our International Conference in Edinburgh.

The event, held at the RBS Conference Centre in Edinburgh included networking, an address by Annabelle Ewing MSP, Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment, a session with renowned futurologist, Anne Lise Kjaer and the launch of the new cadre of Women’s Enterprise Scotland Ambassadors (read their stories here).

FELICITAS BETZL, MICHELLE SMITH, SUZANNE DOYLE-MORRIS, ANNABELLE EWING MSP, ROSEMARY ERIBE, SYLVIA DOUGLAS, MARGARET GIBSON, LYNNE CADENHEAD (C) MALCOLM COCHRANE PHOTOGRAPHY

The launch event was attended by international experts in women’s enterprise and researchers, policy makers and business support practitioners from across Scotland. It proved to be a great opportunity for all those involved in enterprise in Scotland to learn of future trends analysis and to collaborate in further growing women’s enterprise across Scotland.

It also revealed the next cadre of Women’s Enterprise Scotland Ambassadors, the critical role model programme established to showcase Scotland’s wealth and range of female entrepreneurial talent.

After the launch event, an invitation-only elite think tank convened to examine global best practice and emerging research and identify key areas of focus for growth. Participants in the think tank session included: Julie Weeks, a former advisor to the U.S. Congress and President; the acclaimed futurologist, Anne Lise Kjaer; Gunilla Thorstensson, from a ground breaking Swedish programme; Maggie Berry, Chief Executive of international trade / procurement organisation WeConnect Europe; acclaimed academics / researchers, senior enterprise agency staff and senior bankers.

A huge ‘thank you’ to our sponsors for making this event possible. Thanks to RBS for hosting the event at their prestigious Conference Centre and to all the staff there for making everything run smoothly. Thanks to the Scottish Government, FSB and Firstport for their sponsorship and support.
We’d also like to thank Margaret Kennedy (RBS), Annabelle Ewing MSP and our Board for their support and contributions towards the event.
Finally, we’d like to thank our keynote speaker, Anne Lise Kjaer of Kjaer Global for such an inspiring, thought-provoking session.
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