Scottish entrepreneur confirmed to chair Women in Enterprise Group

Published on 
April 6, 2022

Scottish entrepreneur and investor Ana Stewart will chair the Scottish Government-commissioned Women in Enterprise Review.

Co-authored by Mark Logan, who wrote the Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review in 2020, it will focus on areas including education, access to finance, support and mentoring for women in business.

Stewart said: “We have set out to examine current conditions, and to then make recommendations on any perceived gender gap in business ownership and opportunity in Scotland.

“The report will recommend short, medium and longer term interventions aimed at helping to address any barriers facing women in enterprise.”

Stewart added: “The review presents a clear opportunity to put in place systems and networks that give women the support they need to fully realise their business ambitions.”

She is also placing particular importance on delivering robust and resilient data sets, so progress can be benchmarked and measured. “Utilising resilient and relevant data to inform the review and act as the template for the measurement beyond is going to be key - as they say, what gets measured gets done.”

Stewart previously founded IT company i-design, which was floated on the Alternative Investment Market in July 2007, before being acquired by US-based ATM group Cardtronics in 2013.

She is currently a partner with St Andrews-based investment firm Eos Advisory, a non-executive director of the Scottish Football Association, and also sits on the board of online pet food start-up Bella & Duke and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland.

The review is set to close its discovery phase in April, with full findings and recommendations expected by the end of September.

The Scottish Government has committed funding of £50m over the course of the next parliament to support women in enterprise.

Finance and Economic Secretary Kate Forbes recently said: “It is clear that, collectively, we must do more to address the gender gap in business participation in Scotland.

“I have commissioned experienced entrepreneur and investor Ana Stewart to lead a short-term review of how best to target that support and help more women realise their business ambitions.”

Judy Wagner of FWB, Jackie Waring of AccelerateHER and Gemma Hamilton of Business Growth Fund have joined the review team to support Stewart with specific work streams.

Stewart told Insider that while Scotland does have an established ecosystem of female-founded businesses, "there are persistent gaps" all the way from not enough young women coming through in certain sectors, to a lack of female investors at the other end.

"I hope we'll be able to make some key changes that create an environment that enables female founders to thrive," she said, noting that so far during the discovery phase, her team has spoken to a "vast number" of varied stakeholders to find out what's working and what's not.

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