Steedman becomes Empowerment Partner of Women’s Business Station

Edinburgh-based accountancy firm Steeman has become the latest Empowerment Partner of Dundee-based Women’s Business Station, a social enterprise which supports women in setting up a variety of enterprises, large and small.

Steedman becomes Empowerment Partner of Women's Business Station

Hayley Donnelly, Angie De Vos and Kirstin Strachan

Empowerment Partners help support that drive, by offering professional advice and support through training and mentorship.

Kirstin Strachan, operations director of Steedman, said: “From exploring the start-up market, I realised there was very little focus on mentoring from an accountancy perspective, allowing women to take the next step, whether launching or growing their business.

“Most new businesses fail because their finance is not in order – it’s often the last thing they want to deal with but it’s the most important. We started liaising with some of the women Women’s Business station Support and began to create a model of real value for the women, giving them a place they can touch base and gain support.

“Whilst for many, 2020 has been a year to forget, female-run businesses in Scotland have been going from strength to strength. They have flourished under adversity and adapted to the changing landscape they have found themselves in but, more than ever, need support.

“Perhaps they need clarity with grants, costings or price points, help with National Insurance and pensions or want to explore the wholesale market. We’re all operating in a very different world now, but there are opportunities and we’re excited to be supporting Women’s Business Station’s drive, helping women achieve their goals.”

Angie De Vos, CEO, Women’s Business Station, added: “Women’s Business Station is here to support and empower women in setting up their business but we can’t do it alone. We are fortunate to have a team of first-rate Empowerment Partners representing a number of sectors, from digital and legal to banking, giving members a real industry insight into these important areas.

“All of our members have a real passion for their cause and love what they do. However, many falter at finance and that’s where specialist support is needed but it’s not just about compliance and tax returns, it’s about where the business is going and how to get there. You might be about to take on your first employee, open a shop or launch into e-commerce and it’s crucial to have the right support in place to make that work. We are delighted to have Kirstin and her team on board.”

One of the businesses to benefit from the collaboration is Hayley Donnelly, owner of Racquet Buddies and member of Women’s Business Station. Launching her first racquet sports class in 2013, Racquet Buddies now offers 14 toddler and primary classes for almost 200 children across Dundee, Angus and Fife.

Now, Ms Donnelly has set her sights on recruiting 1,000 ‘racquet buddies’ age two and upwards within the next three years, initially branching into Perth and Perthshire, wider Angus and North Fife and, ultimately, right across Scotland.

Ms Donnelly believes that her ambitions for business growth can be best secured through franchising, adding: “We are at a pivotal stage in our journey and actively looking to identify people to replicate our offering across Scotland. For us, Steedman can bring a lot to the table, helping us identify market opportunities in Edinburgh in particular and get to grips with the demographics of how that works from an accountancy perspective.

“Market awareness is imperative when you’re looking to expand and, in a very short time, Kirstin has made a huge difference to our planning. I also love Kirstin’s straight-talking and jargon-free approach, something that’s so important with finance which can be so complex and off-putting.”

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