Female investors on the rise in Scotland

Scotland's first women-focused network to encourage more female angel investors and entrepreneurs has been launched. Picture: Stuart Nichol
Scotland's first women-focused network to encourage more female angel investors and entrepreneurs has been launched. Picture: Stuart Nichol
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A NETWORK for female business angels was launched yesterday in a move aimed at encouraging more women to become involved in backing growth firms.

Jackie Waring, chief executive of Investing Women, hailed the success of the new body which saw 300 attend events in Edinburgh over two days.

She said: “The event has been fantastic and we are delighted with how many attended. We expect to see a number of female investors from across Scotland to join us.

“We have more than enough women interested in becoming registered investors to double the current number and there’s many more to come yet. The long-term goal is to have as many female investors as there are male. What we are delivering will be good for women, good for growth and good for the Scottish economy.”

Currently 2 per cent of Scotland’s angel investors are female, according to angel investor body Linc Scotland. Precise numbers are difficult to collate, but there are 19 other syndicates in Scotland and the biggest has 120 members.

Investing Women has formed a steering committee of business angels which so far includes Caroline Halliday, a non-executive director for renewable energy development firm Sustainable Heat and Power, Lisa Tennant, a portfolio non-executive director and Fulbright scholar, Rebecca Heaney, Edinburgh managing director of marketing agency Rapp, and Tanya Castell, chair of board diversity group Changing the Chemistry, among other roles.

The committee will meet next month and the investor group will be ready to start investing, focusing on female-led businesses, in January, Waring said.

Halliday said: “Investing Women has created a fantastic opportunity for women who are keen to invest in new businesses. I am relatively new to angel investing and being part of this wider community is giving me the opportunity to increase my knowledge, share expertise and gain confidence in angel investing. It is also wonderful to be part of a network where we all share a similar ethos and enjoy what we do.”

Yesterday’s event featured a keynote speech from Susan Preston, dubbed “America’s first lady of women angels”, who delivered a masterclass on how to invest in companies.

The launch was supported by Linc Scotland, the Scottish Government, the Institute of Directors and the Royal Bank of Scotland which hosted the event at its business school at Gogarburn.

Gordon Merrylees, the Royal Bank’s managing director of business banking in Scotland, said: “We know that men are still twice as likely to start a business than women. RBS is committed to becoming the bank of choice for entrepreneurs in Scotland and our support of Investing Women will help towards Scottish female entrepreneurs realising the potential of alternative funding such as angel investing, and give them access to experts who will share their skills and knowledge to help them to perfect their investment pitch.”