Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES), the community interest company which focuses on the contribution women's enterprise makes to the Scottish economy, has marked the centenary of UK women first voting in a general election by calling for concerted action to establish a National Women’s Business Centre.

Carolyn Currie, Chief Executive of Women’s Enterprise Scotland said; “Women first being able to vote marked a huge milestone in the struggle for equal representation. Much has been achieved since then but there is still so much more to do. Whilst we still have a gender pay gap, maternity discrimination, male dominated company boards and just 20% of Scottish SME’s being majority owned and led by women, we are consigning a wealth of talent and opportunity to waste. Enough is enough, the time for concerted, meaningful action is now.”

She continued; “The economic case for an innovative, progressive and inclusive business ecosystem is clear. Recent research from the FSB, supported by WES, reveals that the contribution women-owned businesses make to the Scottish economy has increased by a staggering 76%, from £5bn GVA in 2012 to £8.8bn. [1] The moral and economic case for driving gender balance in enterprise is obvious. What we need now is a dedicated National Women’s Business Centre to deliver the specific support women need to start and grow their own businesses.”

Women’s Enterprise Scotland marked their call for action by joining forces with female entrepreneurs at Royal Bank of Scotland’s new Accelerator Hub in Glasgow, which

Scotland’s women-owned businesses are now responsible for creating 231k Scottish jobs, up from 153k in 2012. Across the UK, a quarter of private sector employment (23.85%) is now calculated to be generated by women-owned and women-led businesses.

From a sector perspective, Scottish women-owned businesses contribute more GVA than Food and Drink and Life Sciences combined (£7.26bn) and more than Creative Industries and Sustainable Tourism combined (£8.3bn).

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