Scots Women to Launch Businesses Following Pilot Programme

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More than 90% of participants who took part in a pilot scheme aiming to inspire female entrepreneurs say they now feel ready to start their own businesses.

E3f, a six-week pilot programme run by Elevator, a social enterprise which supports entrepreneurship and employability across Scotland, aimed to help women turn their business aspirations into a reality.

Funded by the Scottish Government through their Pathways Fund, E3f, the project aimed to empower female entrepreneurs in Scotland by targeting three distinct communities: rural, socio-economic challenges, and black and ethnic minority women. E3f engaged with groups in Moray, Angus and South Glasgow who had business ideas to explore.

Interactive workshops helped participants enhance skills, boost their confidence and equip them for success. From idea generation to practical sessions, the free programme covered topics to sought to propel them to success and self-discovery.

A digital platform offering continued support will provide access to resources and help nurture and consolidate connections made, continuing the journey with the support of the E3f community.

Nearly 60 women joined the cohorts with 100% of respondents in the programme feedback stating they would go on to start a business, with over 90% feeling they are ready to do so now, according to Elevator.

Other key takeaways from the programme and its participants, were:

  • The provision of women-only spaces was significant and successful in allowing participants the safe space to share personal experiences, vulnerabilities and challenges without judgement.
  • Transport and childcare issues continue to generally cause women more challenges than men.
  • There were issues relating to levels of IT skills and literacy; however, the coordinators supported the women to overcome some of these and find workable solutions.
  • The focus on women as individuals and concentration on ‘soft skills’ was key to success.
  • Challenges often existed around a lack of family / partner support for their business ideas.
  • The use of locally-based female small business owners as facilitators was inspiring and relatable.

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Rachel Ross, Elevator’s strengthening communities director, said: “The pilot feedback has been inspiring. So many participants have benefited from focusing on their own personal skills and the guidance given on how to overcome barriers that stop them from taking their business ideas to the next stage. Increased confidence, along with a newfound community of like-minded women providing a supportive network for each other, are major outcomes of the pilot.

“At Elevator, we are committed to provide opportunities to help women thrive in their entrepreneurial journey. Women in business, diversity and inclusion are critical to unlocking Scotland’s economic potential and we are delighted to play our part in providing positive change.”



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