A new digital academy designed to help women succeed in business is inviting entrepreneurs and executives across Scotland to sign up for its ten-week programme, in a fresh attempt to address the gender imbalance in the business community.
The AllBright Academy, run by the AllBright organisation, is an online course and community aiming to help businesswomen “smash corporate glass ceilings” and build “work sisterhoods”.
The free ten-week digital programme, beginning in November, is being delivered by high-profile UK female business leaders, such as designer Cath Kidston, Facebook vice-president Nicola Mendelsohn, and Cosmopolitan editor Farrah Storr.
More than 3,000 people have already signed up to the academy, which is open to women across the UK and is supported by regional voluntary ambassadors who coordinate regular in-person meetings, including in Edinburgh and Glasgow, which enable local women to connect.
Fashion designer and start-up founder Elaine McKenzie will coordinate meet-ups for enrolled participants in the Scottish capital, which begin next week at Harvey Nichols’ St Andrew Square store. Glasgow events will be held at Malmaison, with the first taking place on 30 October.
In a recent survey commissioned by AllBright, 9 per cent of women in Scotland said they wanted to start their own business or be self-employed within a year, with a further 11 per cent undecided about taking an entrepreneurial leap.
AllBright, set up by serial entrepreneur Debbie Wosskow and former Hearst UK chief executive, Anna Jones, takes its name from former US Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, who famously said: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”
Wosskow, who last year sold her company Love Home Swap for $53m (£40m), said: “We know that lack of confidence, especially in the 25 to 35 age group, is one of the reasons that women who want to start a business don’t. AllBright is on a mission to change this.
“The AllBright Academy will be a lifeline for many budding entrepreneurs and business women and in particular, the ‘Doing It For Yourself’ section is something that would have helped me enormously if it was available when I set up my first business.”
Jones, the first female chief executive at Hearst UK in 100 years, added: “Our vision is for the AllBright Academy to upskill many thousands of women across the UK, whether women in business or entrepreneurs.
“The ‘Smashing The Glass Ceiling’ section will give corporate women the skills, tools, confidence and connections to super-charge their careers.”
AllBright also runs monthly pitch events for female founders across the country to connect with potential investors and is the organisation behind the FoundHER networking event and festival that took place in Glasgow in July.