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Ambassador Programme Boosted With New Recruits

We've boosted our ‘role models’ programme with the addition of 35 new Women's Enterprise Scotland (WES) Ambassadors.

WES Ambassadors are women business owners who provide accessible, visible role models for other women looking to start and grow their own business. The new intake takes the WES Ambassador cohort to over 70 women, owning and running businesses across Scotland, from Orkney to the Borders and from the Outer Hebrides to Fife. Sectors represented are wide ranging, from food, travel and textiles to professional services, wellbeing, hospitality and manufacturing.

Carolyn Currie, Chief Executive of Women’s Enterprise Scotland commented;

“Research consistently shows that visible role models are vital for the development - and aspirations - of women’s businesses. Putting it simply, it’s tough to be what you cannot see. Role models help to challenge the gender biases and stereotypes which women come up against on their business journey and provide much needed inspiration to push through obstacles.”

Women have fundamentally different experiences to men in business. Challenges faced by women include access to finance, disproportionate caring responsibilities and access to networks, mentoring and role models.(1) Women-owned businesses in Scotland are now just 14% of SME employer businesses (2), down from 20.6% in 20173.

New WES Ambassador Jacine Rutasikwa, co-founder and CEO of award winning Livingston-based Matugga Distillers, commented;

“I hope that women and girls across Scotland and beyond will be inspired by the business journeys of the WES Ambassadors and have the confidence to take the first step into entrepreneurship. The structural barriers that female entrepreneurs face are well documented and are even more acute for women from Black and minority ethnic communities. We must do everything we can to help women from all backgrounds to unlock their potential and thrive, and I am delighted to play my part in this.”

The importance of the WES Ambassador programme in helping women to achieve their business ambitions is more important than ever as the economy tries to recover from the Covid pandemic. WES produced policy briefs during 2020 demonstrating the disproportionate impact which the Covid-19 pandemic has had on women-owned businesses. Typically being small businesses with limited resources, these businesses were especially vulnerable to the disruption caused by the pandemic. (4)

It is hardly surprising, with women bearing the brunt of juggling work and caring responsibilities, that of the women business owners surveyed in December 2020, three-quarters found managing their businesses stressful during the pandemic, compared to just over half their male peers. (5)

Research published in March 2021 showed that over 80% of women surveyed (83.8%) reported that the pandemic had a negative impact on their business, while nearly four in ten (38.5%) reported that their business will or may have to close as a result. (6)

Carolyn Currie concluded;

“Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that women are able to access the gender specific support they need to start and grow their own businesses. The current state of play is allowing billions of pounds to be left on the table that could be contributing to our economy. A gender balanced business ecosystem is crucial to our post pandemic economic recovery and the visible, relatable role models which our Ambassadors represent play a huge part in this.”

1 Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship 2019

2 Small Business Survey Scotland 2017

3 ONS 2015

4 WES Covid19 Policy Brief 2, 2020

5 (Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship Update, 2021)

6 The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

New WES Ambassadors

Aileen Boyle, Fortro Ltd

Alison Grieve, G-Hold

Ann-Maree Morrison, Labels4Kids Ltd

Anna Bell, Anna Bell Coaching

Ayse B. Cinar Lowe, To Be The One Coaching

Bayile Adeoti, Dechomai

Carolyn Jones, Anatomical Concepts

Cathy Craig, Argyll & Isles Tourism Co-operative

Charlotte Martin, Tap 2 Pointe & BabyBallet

Christine Esson, Scottish Business Network

Anya Kuenen-Perkins, Hoko Design

Dia Banerji, Imagine Ventures

Anya Kuenen-Perkins, Hoko Design

Dr Claudia M. Duffy, Innovare IP and IP BLOKS

Elaine Baxter, Boutique Innovation Ltd

Erica Moore, eteaket Ltd

Jacine Rutasikwa, Matugga Distillers Ltd

Jane Ireland, Slanj Loch Lomond

Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott, Strath Communications Ltd

Jing Peng, Bowbridge Properties

Jo Watts, Effini

Julia Latif, Our House of Spice

Juliet Ibhanesebhor, Sap-kreations Ltd

Kate Hooper, StrategyStory

Kerry Cowan, SkillSeeder

Kirsty Thomson, The Circle

Laura Middlemass, Plexus Corp (UK)Ltd

Lesley Landels, Love Scottish

Liberty Bligh, Libertie Consulting

Mary Turner Thomson, The Book Whisperers (CIC)

Rachel Jones, SnapDragon Monitoring Ltd

Rachel Rowley, Ballintaggart

Rowan Morrison, Rationale

Sacha Woolham, The Strategy Collective

Susie Lowe, Susie Lowe Studi





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