Scots female entrepreneurs offered foothold on business ladder

A Scottish accountancy practice is on a mission to help female entrepreneurs gain a foothold on the business ladder.

Front: Kirstin Strachan, Middle: Angie De Vos, Back: Hayley Donnelly.
Front: Kirstin Strachan, Middle: Angie De Vos, Back: Hayley Donnelly.
Front: Kirstin Strachan, Middle: Angie De Vos, Back: Hayley Donnelly.

Edinburgh-based Steedman has become the latest “empowerment partner” of Dundee-based Women’s Business Station, a social enterprise which supports women in setting up a variety of enterprises. The partners help support that drive by offering professional advice and support through training and mentorship.

Kirstin Strachan, operations director at Steedman, said: “From exploring the start-up market, I realised there was very little focus on mentoring from an accountancy perspective, allowing women to take the next step, whether launching or growing their business.

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“Most new businesses fail because their finance is not in order – it’s often the last thing they want to deal with but it’s the most important. We started liaising with some of the women Women’s Business station Support and began to create a model of real value for the women, giving them a place they can touch base and gain support.”

She added: “Whilst for many, 2020 has been a year to forget, female-run businesses in Scotland have been going from strength to strength. They have flourished under adversity and adapted to the changing landscape they have found themselves in but, more than ever, need support.

“Perhaps they need clarity with grants, costings or price points, help with national insurance and pensions or want to explore the wholesale market.

“We’re all operating in a very different world now, but there are opportunities and we’re excited to be supporting Women’s Business Station’s drive, helping women achieve their goals.”

Angie De Vos, chief executive of Women’s Business Station, said: “We are fortunate to have a team of first-rate empowerment partners representing a number of sectors, from digital and legal to banking, giving members a real industry insight into these important areas.

“All of our members have a real passion for their cause and love what they do. However, many falter at finance and that’s where specialist support is needed but it’s not just about compliance and tax returns, it’s about where the business is going and how to get there.

“You might be about to take on your first employee, open a shop or launch into e-commerce and it’s crucial to have the right support in place to make that work.”

One of the businesses to benefit from the tie-up is Hayley Donnelly, owner of Racquet Buddies and member of Women’s Business Station.

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Launching its first racquet sports class in 2013, Racquet Buddies now offers 14 toddler and primary classes for almost 200 children across Dundee, Angus and Fife.

Donnelly has set her sights on recruiting 1,000 “racquet buddies” age two and upwards within the next three years, initially branching into Perth and Perthshire, wider Angus and North Fife and, ultimately, right across Scotland, most likely through a franchising model.

She said: “We are at a pivotal stage in our journey and actively looking to identify people to replicate our offering across Scotland.

“Market awareness is imperative when you’re looking to expand and, in a very short time, Kirstin has made a huge difference to our planning.”

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