Women In Business Roll Out

Left to right: Rebekah Carral, Tracy Ann Lonie. Isobel Dosser, Laura Claire Jones, Kathleen McAdams, Imogen Russon-Taylor, Maggie Mazoleka, Bev Anderson, Hania Chwialkowska, Susan Harkins, Cassandra Harrison and Business Gateway Edinburgh trainer Karen Barr

After a successful pilot, the Women in Business (WIB) Growth Programme will roll out this year across Edinburgh to help more female entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

The Women in Business Growth Programme was created by Business Gateway Edinburgh and launched by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in 2019. The pilot in 2019 saw 22 female entrepreneurs, with an estimated collective turnover of over £5m, successfully complete the course.

The six-week 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 to learn new skills to help grow their business and as a result, increase their turnover.

The first programme took place in the summer of 2019 and was completed by a wide range of entrepreneurs:

  • Diane Harbison, founder of Decipher Analytics
  • Kate Little, founder of Digital Six
  • Martina Zupan, founder of Alterwaste Ltd
  • Ifeyinwa Rita Kanu, founder of IntelliDigest Ltd
  • Anne Sellar, founder of Swift Letting Ltd
  • Laura Taylor, founder of The Secret Beauty Garden
  • Lorna Carr, founder of The Sensory Sessions
  • Monica Martins, founder of Theorem Conferences and Events Ltd
  • Moira Bennett, founder of Sell More Tickets Ltd

Following on from its success, Business Gateway Edinburgh opened applications for a second cohort who successfully completed the course in December 2019. They were:

  • Karen Knowles, founder of Bon Accord Soft Drinks
  • Imogen Russon-Taylor, founder of Kingdom Scotland Ltd
  • Hania Chwialkowska, founder of CirqArt CIC
  • Cassandra Harrison, Artist
  • Isobel Dosser, founder of Dignity Boxes
  • Kathleen McAdams, founder of Albany HR
  • Maggie Mazoleka, founder of MaRobert's 
  • Bev Anderson, founder of Wishing Tree by the Sea
  • Rebekah Carral of Barricade Pest Control and Proofing Services 
  • Nicola Henderson, founder of Smart House Scotland
  • Francia Boakye, founder of Frank Francia
  • Daniela Nolte, founder of Cozy with Character

Nicola Henderson said: “At Smart House Scotland, our role for the last 10 years has been to design and install integrated smart technology into homes, including sound and audio-visual systems and security devices.

“As the founder I’m always looking at ways to make sure we’re continuing to be one of the market leaders, which is why I’m constantly upskilling and taking time to analyse and assess the bigger picture to help grow the business.

“When the opportunity came up to apply for Busines Gateway’s Women in Business Growth Programme, I jumped at it, not thinking for a minute I’d be accepted.

“It was amazing listening to other women who have been on a similar journey, all with different experiences in a really supportive environment.

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

Susan Harkins, Head of Business Gateway Edinburgh, who designed the programme, said: “Congratulations to all of the inspiring entrepreneurs who took part in our Women in Business Programme in 2019, which was launched by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

“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, which will begin on 22 February 2020, 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.”

Neina Sheldon
Article by Neina Sheldon
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