IWA has joined forces with the SNIB to develop the IW AccelerateHER Fund concept and plans during 2022, with the initiative providing finance to support the growth of Scottish female-led businesses, unlocking entrepreneurial potential and supporting the recommendations of Mark Logan’s review of the Scottish tech ecosystem.
The angel investment group added that founder Jackie Waring will lead the steering group to develop the IW AccelerateHER Fund while also continuing to be an active angel investor.
Meanwhile, IWA director and former investment banker Evelyn Simpson will take over from Ms Waring as managing director of the organisation’s angel group and will also join the team in building the new fund.
Ms Waring said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for [IWA] with the new IW AccelerateHER Fund marking a major step forward in the level of support we can provide for female founders in Scotland.
“Through the excellent partnership we’ve forged with the [SNIB], and working alongside other key partners including Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise, and the Scottish Government, the new fund will aim to move the dial to a higher setting to increase access and opportunities for female-led businesses, driving wider economic growth.
SNIB chief executive Eilidh Mactaggart cheered the partnership with Investing Women to support the development of the new fund aimed at helping female entrepreneurs across Scotland. “Addressing inequality and improving access to finance to those that are typically under-represented, which includes female entrepreneurs, is key both to the Bank’s missions and its mandate to further equality, diversity and inclusion in the Scottish economy with its investment,” she added.
“The fund will complement the support for female entrepreneurs from existing AccelerateHER partners as well as angel networks and other gender-focused investors.”
Ms Waring also welcomed Ms Simpson taking on the new role to lead IWA. “Ever since joining our board in 2017, she has been a source of energy and wise counsel, and is ideally placed to lead our angel group’s growth plans going forward,” she said.
Ms Simpson also commented, stating: “It’s been a privilege to be part of the IWA board for the last five years where we have made a real difference in supporting female-led businesses across Scotland and beyond. In my new role I look forward to working closely with Jackie and our members as we build on our strong foundation and elevate our impact in the funding landscape for female founders.”
IWA says that since its first investment in 2015, in life sciences firm TC Biopharm, its members have invested more than £2.1 million in 22 companies, with more than 90 per cent of funds going to female-founded businesses.
The group’s sister company AccelerateHER has also been supporting female founders since 2015, connecting entrepreneurs with business angels, and with initiatives including trade missions and the AccelerateHER Awards.
The latest news follows Women’s Enterprise Scotland, which works to close the gender gap in enterprise, recently saying it was marking its tenth anniversary with calls for action over the establishment of a National Women’s Business Centre model.