THE Women in Business Growth Programme is set to be rolled out in 2020.

It follows a successful double run in 2019 where 22 female entrepreneurs, with an estimated collective turnover of more than £5 million, successfully completed the course, created by Business Gateway Edinburgh.

The six-week programme was launched by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. It focuses on growth and financial planning, leadership strategy, company structures, presenting for investing and exploring new markets. It is designed to help female entrepreneurs to learn new skills to help grow their business and as a result, increase their turnover.

The first programme took place in the summer of 2019 and was completed by Diane Harbison founder of Decipher Analytics, Kate Little founder of Digital Six, Martina Zupan founder of Alterwaste Ltd, Ifeyinwa Rita Kanu founder of IntelliDigest Ltd, Anne Sellar founder of Swift Letting Ltd, Laura Taylor, founder of The Secret Beauty Garden, Lorna Carr, founder of The Sensory Sessions, Monica Martins, founder of Theorem Conferences and Events Ltd and Moira Bennett founder of Sell More Tickets Ltd.

Following on from its success Business Gateway Edinburgh opened applications for a second cohort who completed the course in December 2019.

Attendees included: Karen Knowles, founder of Bon Accord Soft Drinks; Imogen Russon-Taylor founder of Kingdom Scotland Ltd; Hania Chwialkowska founder of CirqArt CIC; artist Cassandra Harrison; Isobel Dosser, founder of Dignity Boxes; Kathleen McAdams founder of Albany HR; Maggie Mazoleka founder of MaRobert's; Bev Anderson founder of Wishing Tree by the Sea; Rebekah Carral of Barricade Pest Control and Proofing Services; and Nicola Henderson, founder of Smart House Scotland.

Henderson said: “At Smart House Scotland our role for the last 10 years has been to design and install integrated smart technology into homes, including sound and audio-visual systems and security devices.

“As the founder I’m always looking at ways to make sure we’re continuing to be one of the market leaders, which is why I’m constantly upskilling and taking time to analyse and assess the bigger picture to help grow the business.

“When the opportunity came up to apply for Busines Gateway’s Women in Business Programme, I jumped at it, not thinking for a minute I’d be accepted.

“It was amazing listening to other women who have been on a similar journey, all with different experiences in a really supportive environment.

“One of the biggest benefits for me was actually taking time away from the pressures of everyday work and look at my business from a relaxed perspective.”

Susan Harkins, head of Business Gateway Edinburgh, who designed the programme said: “The feedback is really positive with many of our participants commenting on invaluable peer support throughout the course and the tangible benefits when taking time out to actually work on your business.