Businesswoman Petra Wetzel has launched an investment fund to help other female entrepreneurs follow in her footsteps.
Wetzel, who runs Glasgow-based independent brewery West, has put up £100,000 to provide seed capital and other financial assistance to women developing their own food and drink businesses.
The businesswoman said she was already in “advanced discussions” with a number of potential firms in the sector which the initiative – West Women – could invest in.
German-born Wetzel, who opened West with her former husband in 2006, said she was convinced more female-led businesses could prosper with the right support and that the sector as a whole would benefit from more diversity.
Wetzel, who unveiled a new £5 million brewery last month, said: “This is a sector I’ve operated in for over a decade and I’m getting fed up being the only woman in the room, or the token female speaker at business events.
“West Women will help other female-led businesses grow and develop their operations throughout Scotland and I am confident that the initial £100,000 fund will grow significantly over the years ahead as we reap the rewards of investment by a female entrepreneur in future generations of female entrepreneurs.”
The entrepreneur said she was also keen to offer wider support beyond financial help.
“Money is only one part of the West Women project, the other is helping with my ‘little black book’ and experience from female to female entrepreneur. I think that’s as important as the cash.”
The initial idea for the West business was sparked when Wetzel’s father had asked for a pint of local lager when he visited Scotland to see his daughter. Unimpressed by what he was offered Wetzel and her former husband set up West. The company suffered financial difficulties and eventually fell into administration before Wetzel took charge.
She has since gone on to secure listings in supermarkets including Tesco and Waitrose and venues such as Turnberry and Gleneagles. The company’s new brewery at its Glasgow Green base in the former Templeton’s Carpet Factory has increased capacity of the business ten-fold.
Research from the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship estimated that Scotland’s economy would grow by more than £7 billion if the number of women-led businesses increased to equal those of men. Half of new businesses set up across Grampian and Tayside over the past year were led by women.