Finance · 26 October 2018

Scotland’s female entrepreneurs demand state support to realise economic potential

Scotland female entrepreneurs
Women led-businesses in Scotland contribute more than £5bn to the economy

Scottish female entrepreneurs are urging the government for more help to give the economy a multi-billion-pound boost.

According to official figures, there are 94,900 self-employed women in Scotland, equivalent to 5.4% of the working age population. However, Scottish men are much more likely than their female counterparts to be their own boss with 183,300 self-employed, equivalent to 11 per cent of the working age population.

Research by Women’s Enterprise Scotland shows that women led-businesses contribute more than £5bn towards the Scottish economy. However, if the number of women-led businesses matched those led by men, this figure would increase to £13bn.

“For every woman in business for herself in Scotland, there are two men. That’s not good enough in 2018,” said Janet Torley, Dunfermline-based business owner and member of the FSB’s Scotland policy unit.

“At FSB, we’ve made the case to governments both north and south of the border for extra support for female business owners. For instance, we’ve argued for extra maternity help for self-employed women and more enterprise education in Scotland’s schools.”

Her comments came as new FSB Scotland research revealed that female entrepreneurship is highest in rural Scotland. Moray has a higher share of women who work for themselves than any other mainland Scottish local authority area.

More than one in ten working-age women in Moray are self-employed. There are 9,700 women in Edinburgh who work for themselves, more than any other local authority, including Glasgow with 7400 self-employed women.

“Female entrepreneurship is far higher in rural Scotland than in our cities. That’s not only because people move out to rural places to start-up, but also large private and public employers are few and far in many rural areas,” said Torley.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon added: “These figures illustrate that self-employed women are making a huge contribution to local economies and communities across the country. Being your own boss isn’t easy, but we need to see more of those women that have taken the plunge explaining to others the great rewards that self-employment and business can bring.”

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As further research confirms gender disparity in the entrepreneurial space, our Women in Micro Business series has been profiling the founders of promising UK startups to construct a community of female business owners.

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