#femaleboss Scotland: Initiative encouraging young women to become their own boss expands to schools

An initiative supporting young Scottish women to become their own boss is set to expand into schools.

Ahead of International Women’s Day on Tuesday, Young Enterprise (YE) Scotland has announced its ambition to grow their #FemaleBoss initiative into the classrooms of Scotland.

Launched in 2021, the YE project in partnership with the Royal Bank of Scotland has already helped over 130 students from 11 Scottish colleges consider running their own companies.

The scheme, with its blend of online workshops, mentoring and grant funding, aims to build both practical skills and confidence for young women hoping to be their own CEO.

Tori-Leigh Adams, 18, is studying Automotive at West Lothian College and is currently on the #femaleboss programme (Photo: Tori-Leigh Adams).

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However, the new expansion will focus on supporting young women within S3/4 and ahead of their course choices in S5.

Tori-Leigh Adams, 18, is studying Automotive at West Lothian College and is currently on the #femaleboss programme.

She hopes to start up her own business centred around women in the male-dominated automotive industry. There is currently only one other young woman on her course.

"I’ve learned so much that I thought I would have known.” said Ms Adam, “I am looking to open my own business and get more females into the automotive industry rather than it be a male-dominated space.”

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Lisa Wardlaw from YE Scotland.

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Ms Adams has received in-depth information about how to run a business, where to start and how to create connections.

"The programme has helped me put it all together and has shown me that it’s possible,” she said, “I want to see more women go and do the things they want to do.

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"I am all for everyone doing what they want to do but if it’s something that females don’t do often, I’m 100% for it.”

The 18-year-old said she would actively encourage other young women to take part in the scheme.

This year’s programme has the backing of Scottish Enterprise, which is contributing up to £15,000 through its ‘Start her up’ and ‘Move her up’ grant schemes.

Lisa Wardlaw, College Delivery Manager for YE Scotland, said: “Our aim is to inspire, empower and support young women from a younger age to develop themselves through enterprise. This will include supporting them develop their leadership skills, their entrepreneurial spirit and focus on developing confidence from within, touching on self-esteem and resilience building.

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“By targeting S3/4 this would hit more pupils and also help them in the course choices for S5. It also creates a structured ladder of enterprise into our Young Enterprise Scotland Company Programme, an accredited qualification recognised by UCAS, which they can participate in, in S5/6.

"Ultimately, it will give more young women the opportunity to develop themselves through enterprise and potentially become successful business women and leaders.”

Women-owned businesses in Scotland already contribute £8.8 billion into the economy each year, with the Rose Review estimating that supporting and developing women-led businesses could create more than one million new SME businesses and £250 billion of additional value across the UK.

By bringing the #Femaleboss programme to the younger pupils, YE Scotland aims to help create the environment in which choosing to start up or run a business becomes an informed and exciting choice for more young women.

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