Women in Enterprise

First Minister’s Question Time – in the Scottish Parliament am ar 9 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Michelle Thomson Michelle Thomson Scottish National Party

To ask the First Minister what support the Scottish Government is providing to women in enterprise. (S6F-03100)

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government is committed to implementation of the report “Pathways: A New Approach for Women in Entrepreneurship”, which looks at how support for women in entrepreneurship can best be delivered and addresses the barriers that they continue to face. We have allocated £1.5 million this year to support that work, building on the £1.3 million that was invested through the pre-start fund last year.

Photo of Michelle Thomson Michelle Thomson Scottish National Party

I recognise the efforts that have been made with the 2023 “Pathways” report, and I hope that any funding can continue on a sustainable basis.

Figures from the Federation of Small Businesses in 2018 suggested that women-led businesses account for nearly £9 billion of gross value added. Today’s figure is likely to be much higher. However, a recent report from Women’s Enterprise Scotland articulates continued systemic barriers, citing issues such as an increase in discrimination and unequal treatment of women in business. Will the First Minister and his new Cabinet commit to a focus on the value of women-led businesses as a key part of his stated aim of driving economic growth, and as a means of increasing labour market participation, innovation and productivity?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

I welcome Michelle Thomson’s contribution to the discussion through her question today, but also through her convenership of the cross-party group on women in enterprise.

I acknowledge and recognise that our efforts to boost economic growth in Scotland would be greatly enhanced if, in our society, the participation of women in enterprise was at an equal level to the participation of men. Our efforts have to be focused on closing that gap to ensure that women are able to make a greater contribution to enterprise. I welcome the points that Michelle Thomson has made, and I commit the Government, in its economic strategy and the work that we are taking forward, to specifically making sure that we close that gap, and to working with women and organisations such as Women’s Enterprise Scotland, which is a fabulous organisation, to achieve those objectives.