Barclays provides skills injection for Scotland's budding businesswomen

Barclays has unveiled a skills boost for female entrepreneurs in Scotland amid new research which reveals that a fifth of women want to launch their own business in the next five years.

Barclays said it was making the first in a series of three-year commitments, through the LifeSkills programme. Picture: John Devlin
Barclays said it was making the first in a series of three-year commitments, through the LifeSkills programme. Picture: John Devlin

The bank asked how people feel about starting up and growing their own business, as well as their hopes and fears about jobs in the current testing economic climate.

The research also shows that entrepreneurial spirit is strongest among younger generations. Of those who want to start a business over the next five years, almost three quarters of women aged 16-34 (74 per cent) say that Covid-19 has made them want to start up on their own more.

Barclays said it was making the first in a series of three-year commitments. Through the LifeSkills programme, the next generation of business owners will be “supported with the skills they need to turn their plans into action” and take steps towards being a successful entrepreneur.

The programme is set to engage with secondary schools and all-girls schools across Scotland and the UK, to “highlight and share useful content”, including steps to developing and launching a business.

Baroness Karren Brady, chair of the LifeSkills advisory council, said: “With so much untapped female-led business potential in the UK economy, it has never been more important to inspire and nurture the next generation of successful female entrepreneurs.

“LifeSkills is committed to empowering both younger generations and adults with the practical resources they need to help them take those first steps in making their business dream a reality.”

Hannah Bernard, Barclays’ head of business banking, said: “It’s absolutely key to Scotland’s economic recovery that the industry comes together to give both female business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs a boost, particularly as we see the impact of the coronavirus pandemic continue to play out.”

Looking more broadly at female entrepreneurs across the UK, more than half (53 per cent) of those surveyed said that they had a business idea they would like to launch but just 14 per cent had drafted a business plan.

To address this, LifeSkills content available for schools will focus on practical elements for starting a business such as developing a business idea and plan and turning an idea into reality, as well as a range of core, transferable skills such as problem solving, leadership, communication, resilience and confidence building.

The series of commitments will span three years as part of the bank’s targeted UK-wide campaign to help female business owners through the pandemic and consequent recession.

Further activity to provide the skills for entrepreneurship will be provided through a programme of mentoring and support delivered via Barclays’ Eagle Labs and Rise network.

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