Scotland’s economy could be boosted to the tune of £7.6bn if the number of female entrepreneurs matched the men who have already set up their own business.
That’s the view of the new women’s employment secretary, Angela Constance, who argues the number of SMEs led by women was “disproportionately low”.
Ms Constance said that females accounted for less than a third of all self-employed professionals in Scotland at present. Increasing the number of women setting up their own business could boost the country’s economy by up to five per cent, she suggested.
This comes after Ms Constance’s first major speech since being promoted from her previous post of youth employment minister to secretary for training, youth and women’s employment within the Scottish Cabinet.
Ms Constance told an audience at the Women’s Business and Enterprise Conference in Edinburgh: “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.
“Work from the Hunter Centre (for Entrepreneurship) indicates that if women’s participation rates matched men’s, it could also boost the economy by as much as five per cent – a difference of £7.6bn.
“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.”
Ms Constance added the Scottish government’s “commitment to promoting women in business is clear”, adding this new drive would “form a key part of my brief as cabinet secretary”.
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