Scottish Enterprise partnership to support female business founders achieve global growth

AccelerateHER and Scottish Enterprise are partnering to increase support for female-led companies to maximise their global growth potential. This partnership supports Scottish Enterprise’s continuing commitment to gender equality and adds to its existing initiatives to help disruptive, sustainable and inclusive female-led businesses in Scotland with high growth potential.

AccelerateHER, the sister organisation of Scotland’s first all-female angel investment group, Investing Women Angels, celebrates and supports female business founders across the UK. Since the launch of the AccelerateHER Awards programme in 2015, the number of female founders raising investment in Scotland has increased by 400% with award finalists raising £34.5m investment and creating around 375 jobs.

Through its alliance with Scottish Enterprise, AccelerateHER will extend its existing support programme to benefit up to 63 additional female-founded companies across Scotland through a range of growth-focused initiatives. These include a series of business scaling and investment readiness masterclasses and one to one coaching sessions with AccelerateHER’s global network of experienced angels and additional places for female company founders on international market-building missions. The first of these, being staged as a virtual trade mission, will take participants to Berlin in December with a follow up mission to the US planned for early 2022.

The programme will also feature a number of ‘money can’t buy’ sessions connecting aspiring Scottish female company founders with leading business figures and entrepreneurs. Over recent years AccelerateHER has staged similar events with the likes of Jim McColl, CEO of Clyde Blowers Capital; and Susan Preston, the US’s ‘First Lady’ of female business angels. AccelerateHER award winners also visited Virgin Galactic’s headquarters on the Mojave Desert during a trade mission to California where they met with senior executives from its manufacturing organisation, The Spaceship Company.

The launch of this new partnership comes as women continue to be underrepresented in company leadership and business ownership, and it follows research showing that equalling the rate of women-led businesses to those led by men would contribute £7.6bn to Scotland’s GVA, equating to 5.3% growth in the size of the Scottish economy.

Victoria Carmichael, Director of Strategic Investments at Scottish Enterprise, said:

“Helping Scotland’s entrepreneurs build innovative, disruptive and resilient job-creating businesses is critical to economic recovery. Bringing gender parity to our entrepreneurial ecosystem is a fundamental part of that process, with representation of women in entrepreneurship remaining an international concern.

“AccelerateHER is well-connected and highly regarded and has a formidable track record in helping female-led companies scale for growth, secure investment, and access international markets. We look forward to working together to help these businesses fulfil their ambitions while inspiring other women on their business development journey.”

Jackie Waring, CEO of AccelerateHER, said: “We’re delighted to launch this new partnership with Scottish Enterprise. This now means we can support more female founders through our established mentoring programmes and global, market-building missions.

“Growing the number of female founders accessing investment and helping them secure international market opportunities for their businesses is an economic imperative for Scotland – it’s also been our core focus since launching AccelerateHER. We’re excited to be extending our services to benefit Scotland’s top female-led businesses to help them maximise their full global potential”.

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