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Newly-appointed Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Women’s Employment, Angela Constance has made her first major speech. Readers will remember that at the SNP conference Ms Constance and Shona Robinson were elevated from humble ministers as the First Minister pledged that the Scottish Cabinet would henceforth be 40% female.

Speaking at the Women’s Business and Enterprise Conference in Edinburgh, Ms Constance quoted research from the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship showing that increasing the number of women entrepreneurs to match the number of men would generate more than £7 billion for the economy.

She went on to set out how the Scottish Government is helping to close the entrepreneurial gender gap by …

  • Launching the Women in Enterprise Action Framework, developed in collaboration with public, private and third sector partners.
  • Giving £35,000 of support for the Women’s Enterprise Scotland Business Ambassadors, and
  • A further £50,000 going to Investing Women, supporting a series of investment-readiness workshops.
  • Awarding almost £2million to 54 businesses judged most capable of growth  through the Scottish government’s EDGE fund – of which women accounted for 46%

“At the same time”, she told the conference, “ we must not lose sight of the fact that a disproportionately low number of small to medium sized-enterprises are female-led and that less than a third of self-employed people are women.

“Recent labour market figures have shown a real boost for women in employment. If we can match those gains in entrepreneurship, both Scotland’s economic growth and its equality in employment will take significant strides forward.”