Case Studies


Welcome to The Collective NSET Spotlight Series! We spoke to Can Do Collective members about their response to the 2022 National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET)This series will showcase not only individual efforts that will effectively contribute to the wider social, economic and environmental transformation of Scotland, but how these partners can achieve more impact for Scotland when they work together.

As champions for change, Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) creates an environment where women-owned businesses can start-up and thrive. For the last 10 years, WES has been at the forefront of the drive to close the gender gap in enterprise participation unlocking women’s economic potential and enabling innovation to thrive. The vision remains the same: for Scotland to be world leading in its approach to supporting women business owners, enabling equal access to resources and opportunities as they develop successful and sustainable businesses.

Women owned businesses contribute £8.8bn Gross Value Add into the Scottish economy and have created over 230,000 jobs.[1] As a sector, women-owned businesses contribute more GVA than Sustainable Tourism (£4.1bn), Food & Drink (£5.6bn) and Creative Industries (£4.6bn)​.[2] Doubling women-owned businesses to 40% of SME’s would add another £8.8bn to the Scottish economy every year.

The recently released National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET), has realised and understood that there is a monumental need for women entrepreneurs to be supported more, as the gender gap in business owners, is holding back the economic transformation of Scotland, and the rest of the globe.

We spoke to Professor Lynne Cadenhead, Chair of WES, about their response and support for the NSET in our Collective NSET Spotlight Series.

The NSET states the importance of recognising that it is an “ethical and economic imperative of tapping into a more diverse talent pool to drive the creation and growth of new businesses through, for example, the commitment of £50 million over the lifetime of this Parliament to support more women into entrepreneurship.”

To support the delivery of NSET, WES notes that:

Lynne Cadenhead, Chair of WES.

‘Our 2021 Manifesto for Change focuses on the critical importance of developing and supporting women’s enterprise as part of Scotland’s future economic prosperity, and sets our key priorities for change including advocating for a more gender equal economy, enabling greater access to finance and enabling a more gender aware business support structure across Scotland. As an expert body, WES advises and informs external partners and advocates for gender-specific enterprise support and seeks to influence policy-makers and opinion formers to recognise the significant contribution women-led businesses could make to the Scottish economy.’

WES’s commitment to driving change and prosperity for women’s business support, which will in turn, deliver a crucial part of the government’s 10-year transformative plan:

‘WES will continue to work in partnership with a wide range of public, private and third sector stakeholders within the enterprise eco-system in Scotland to support them in delivering a more gender balanced economy. Central to effective collaborative delivery is an enhanced digital Women’s Business Centre in 2022, providing gendered support, signposting and guidance for women across Scotland, and which is the first stage in the WES vision for the creation of a National Women’s Business Centre (NWBC). The purpose of the NWBC is to unlock women’s economic potential, providing support from early business idea generation through to growth and scaling and will require a collaborative ecosystem approach for effective delivery.’

WES launched the digital Women’s Business Centre in 2020. The first platform of its kind, it provides expert, gendered support and guidance for women across Scotland, supported by Royal Bank of Scotland. It is free to access and offers dedicated, needs-based content for women starting and growing businesses.

The site has recently been enhanced with new functionality including a Business Directory, Forum and a Sales Academy. All content is available for those signed up for the free membership.

Visit the digital Women’s Business Centre:

WES Awards

After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic the Women’s Enterprise Scotland Awards are back as part of our 10th Anniversary celebrations.

These prestigious awards will be presented at a glittering evening event to celebrate the talents of women across Scotland – and help to create more role models to inspire the next generation of leading businesswomen.

Find out more about the categories and tickets here:

To learn more about WES, check out their website:

Read the WES Manifesto:

Find out more about 10 years of WES:

[1] FSB 2018

[2] Growth Sector Statistics, Scottish Government 2021

If you are a Can Do member and you would like to share how you are supporting NSET, get in touch and feature in this series!