Women-led scale-ups to benefit from Business Gateway growth programme

WIBs December cohort with programme designer Susan Harkins and trainer Karen Barr. Picture: Contributed
WIBs December cohort with programme designer Susan Harkins and trainer Karen Barr. Picture: Contributed
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A “first of its kind” female entrepreneurship initiative run by Business Gateway Edinburgh is set to return following its successful roll-out in 2019.

The Women in Business (WIB) Growth Programme, which focuses on growth and financial planning, leadership strategy, company structures, presenting for investing and exploring new markets, is designed to help female entrepreneurs learn new skills and grow their business to increase turnover.

The scheme is now calling for fresh applications after 22 businesswomen completed the course last year. Attendees included Karen Knowles, founder of Bon Accord Soft Drinks; Isobel Dosser, founder of Dignity Boxes; and Anne Sellar founder of Swift Letting.

Nicola Henderson, who set up smart home technology installation firm Smart House Scotland, took part in last year’s winter cohort. She said: “As the founder I’m always looking at ways to make sure we’re continuing to be one of the market leaders.

“One of the biggest benefits for me was actually taking time away from the pressures of everyday work to look at my business from a relaxed perspective.”

'Overwhelming success'

The six-week scheme was launched on International Women’s Day last year by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Applications are now open for the next WIB Growth Programme which starts on the 22 February. Prospective attendees must apply by the 31 January deadline.

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Susan Harkins, head of Business Gateway Edinburgh, who designed the programme said: “Due to the overwhelming success of both intakes we are delighted to be able to roll out the programme in 2020.

“The feedback has been really positive with many of our participants commenting on the invaluable peer support throughout the course and the tangible benefits when taking time out to actually work on your business.

“We are appealing to all female entrepreneurs who are planning on growing their business in 2020 to get in touch to take part in the next programme, where they are guaranteed to leave with even more skills, confidence and a stronger network around them to help take their business to the next level.”