Women’s Enterprise Scotland and RBS support women-led Scottish start-ups with new digital platform



Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES), with support from the Royal Bank of Scotland, has launched a new digital platform designed to support women at the pre-start-up and start-up stage of their business journey.

Susan Fouquier, managing director, business banking, RBS

Supported by RBS Back Her Business, the digital Women’s Business Centre, which is free to access, offers dedicated, needs-based content for women starting up in business.

Informed by years of research, it provides support on key topics such as accessing finance, juggling work-life balance, support networks, mentoring and having business start-up ideas taken seriously. There is business guidance alongside practical tips from women who have already started up businesses from all over Scotland, ranging from city centres to rural locations and remote island communities.

Carolyn Currie, WES chief executive, said: “A number of studies have already identified women as one of the groups worst affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. At a time when many women may not return to the jobs they once held, starting up a business can ensure women utilise their skills and play a leading role in Scotland’s economy.”

The Institute for Fiscal Studies and the UCL Institute of Education recently reported that mothers are 47% more likely to have permanently lost their job or quit and 14% were more likely to have been furloughed since the start of the crisis. Sectors which have been hardest hit by the pandemic include hospitality, retail, travel and personal care such as hairdressing and beauty, all of which employ significant numbers of female workers.

The launch of the Women’s Business Centre comes as gross domestic product (GDP) figures indicate that Scotland is heading towards a recession, following a GDP decline of 5% in March was followed by an 18.9% drop in April.

It also comes in the wake of a recent report by the Scottish Government’s Advisory Group on Economic Recovery, led by Benny Higgins, which has called for new borrowing powers to funnel £6 billion into the country’s recovery from COVID-19. Specific recommendations in the report include a focus on flexible working, the need to ensure people experiencing inequalities are given the opportunity to actively participate in decision making, investment in digital platforms for business support and the creation of a wellbeing economy in Scotland.

Susan Fouquier, managing director, business banking, RBS, added: “Last year’s Rose Review, led by Royal Bank CEO Alison Rose, highlighted the disparity between male and female entrepreneurs and the £250bn in untapped potential for the UK economy which could be achieved if the right mix of support is put in place.

“Royal Bank of Scotland is delighted to support the creation of the Women’s Business Centre and help address some of the unique challenges faced by Scottish female-led businesses, helping maximise their potential and offer the support to give others the confidence to ask for more and turn their ideas into a reality.”

Carolyn Currie concluded: “With Scotland facing an uphill struggle towards economic recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic,  there has never been a greater need to provide expert, needs-based business support for women. Now is the time to make the most of digital technologies to help more women unlock their creativity, get off to the best start with their business and boost the Scottish economy. By creating a more diverse, gender-balanced business landscape, we will be able to take Scotland into a new era of business growth.”

  • Read all of our articles relating to COVID-19 here.


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