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Women’s Enterprise Scotland today welcomes the recommendation of the Scottish Government’s Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee for the appointment of a National Head of Women in Business.

Carolyn Currie, Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Enterprise Scotland said; “The committee sees a National Head of Women in Business as a key step in coordinating national policy and working towards the establishment of a National Women's Centre for Business. This is something we have been urging for some time and we are working in collaboration with Business Gateway, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and the other stakeholders in the Women in Enterprise Action Group to realise this vision.”

She continued; “Women-owned businesses currently represent 20% of Scotland’s business base and already these businesses contribute a staggering £8.8bn into the economy every year. This is an increase of 76% from £5bn GVA in 2012 and more than many of the current growth sectors, including Food & Drink (£5.3bn); Creative Industries (£4.4bn); Sustainable Tourism (£3.9bn) and Life Sciences (£1.5bn). We believe that with needs based support, co-designed by women-owned businesses and experts in gender techniques , we can significantly boost the existing contribution women-owned businesses make to the Scottish economy.”

Research by organisations including WES, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Sara Carter, Associate Principal, Strathclyde University, continues to show that women face specific challenges when starting and growing a business. These challenges include gaining credibility for the business; childcare/caring commitments; discrimination and access to finance and access to networks.

Currie concluded; “Identifying women owned business as a cross-cutting priority growth sector would allow for the current economic contribution to be monitored and appropriate support and investment to be identified and aligned going forward. Measurement is a crucial component for achieving change and progress.”