Leading Scottish female entrepreneurs will be at the Scottish Parliament to mark the centenary of female suffrage tomorrow (Tuesday 6 February) as they declare “an end to business as usual.”

Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) Ambassadors Vicky Brock, Sara Roberts and Leah Hutcheon will be giving evidence at the Scottish Parliament's Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee, which has launched a new inquiry into Scotland's Economic Performance. Both entrepreneurs will be sharing their own direct experience of creating successful companies and will ‘call time’ on the enterprise gender gap in Scotland, where the current level of women-owned businesses is just 20%.

Sara Roberts, Founder of award-winning growth business Healthy Nibbles, said; “It is hard to believe that 100 years on from female suffrage, we have not achieved the progress we should have. It is simply not acceptable that women-owned businesses represent just 20% of the business base in Scotland and only 3.4% of account managed growth businesses. Innovative action needs to be taken now to unlock the economic growth potential which women represent. We could seriously gear up our growth with a collaborative strategy which acknowledges the different needs of men and women in business.”

The WES Ambassadors will be giving evidence in the Scottish Parliament 100 years to the day that since the Representation of the People Act gained royal assent and gave some women over the age of 30 the right to vote for the first time. The Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee is using the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework (NPF) - which measures performance and progress towards the Scottish Government’s economic priorities - examining Scotland’s economic performance since 2007, as well as exploring future challenges and opportunities for Scotland’s businesses and households.

On 6th February, the inquiry will be looking at the creation of successful companies, their contribution to long-term economic growth and the importance of entrepreneurship. WES Ambassadors Sara Roberts and Vicky Brock will be joining others from Scotland’s business community to contribute to the inquiry and share their own experiences.

Serial entrepreneur Vicky Brock, founder of Get Market Fit, said; “With such a sizable enterprise gender gap, the ecosystem in Scotland is not representative of all of society and lacks the very diversity which spurs innovation. We need to get better at creating the business environment where women can thrive, contribute and progress their innovative ideas. I have founded and scaled a high growth tech business and women do differ from men in the way that they create, scale and manage their businesses. It’s not all about turnover, but taking a wider view of economic value.”

Carolyn Currie, Chief Operating Officer of Women’s Enterprise Scotland, said; “The lack of gender-diversity across the Scottish business community in 2018 is acting as a drag on innovation, productivity and the economy and is holding Scotland back from achieving our full business growth potential. There is a lack of gender-disaggregated data on investments made to boost productivity and their relative outcomes. Data is crucial to achieve transformative economic change – if you cannot see it, you cannot change it. There is no shortage of female business talent and greater data transparency will help us to identify where change and investment could be directed, leading the way in consigning the current enterprise gender gap to history.”

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