Research & Policy
To help realise our ambition for women-owned businesses in Scotland and beyond, Women’s Enterprise Scotland has a strong, on-going focus on policy development.
In 2014, we co-founded the Scottish Framework and Action Plan for Women’s Enterprise, the first of it's kind in Europe. We continue to be a key advisor to the Scottish Government and the Women in Enterprise Implementation Group. In addition to providing consultancy services to the Welsh Government on the launch of their framework for Women in Enterprise in Wales in 2019. We are members of the Think 20, the "ideas bank" of the central banks and governments comprising the G20.
In Scotland, the publication of the WES Survey of Women-Owned Businesses in November 2014, enhanced the information available on the barriers to women starting and growing businesses in Scotland. In addition, the research discerned the activities and support needed to tackle those barriers and achieve business growth. Subsequent research undertaken in 2016 and 2017 has again pointed to the ongoing barriers to women's business ownership and growth in Scotland - and the support and resources identified to address the issues and effect change.
In 2018, WES, in partnership with Portsmouth University, undertook research for the Federation of Small Businesses into the Economic Case for Women's Enterprise in the UK. While women are just 20% of the business base in Scotland, the research found that these businesses contribute £8.8bn Gross Value Add (GVA) into the Scottish economy each year.
In context, that significant level of economic contribution exceeds the GVA from many of the "Growth" sectors including Food & Drink (£5.3bn); Creative Industries (£4.4bn); Sustainable Tourism (£3.9bn) and Life Sciences (£1.5bn).
From the research delivered by WES and other organisations over the years, we believe that gender-specific needs based support, designed by women-owned businesses for women-owned businesses, can begin to close the current gender gap in enterprise participation and ownership. Significantly boosting the existing economic contribution and creating an environment where more women and girls can start up in business and thrive.
That is our mission.