Scotland business

Angela Constance: More female entrepreneurs can boost economy

Angela Constance Image copyright Scottish government
Image caption Ms Constance said a "disproportionately low number" of smaller enterprises were female-led

Scotland's economy could be boosted by up to £7.6bn if the number of female entrepreneurs matched the men who have set up their own business, according to the new women's employment secretary.

Angela Constance argued the number of small to medium businesses led by women was "disproportionately low".

She also said females accounted for less than a third of all self-employed.

Increasing the number of women setting up their own business could boost the economy by up to 5%, she added.

Ms Constance spoke out as she gave her first major speech since being promoted from the post of youth employment minister to secretary for training, youth and women's employment in the Scottish Cabinet.

She 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 5% - a difference of £7.6bn."

She added: "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 said the Scottish government's "commitment to promoting women in business is clear", adding this work would "form a key part of my brief as cabinet secretary".

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