A social enterprise on a mission to support female entrepreneurs provided 100 activities to almost 1,000 women in the first 100 days of lockdown.
The team behind Women’s Business Station, which aims to enhance the socio-economic empowerment of 10,000 women in Scotland by 2030, has delivered a record-breaking number of online sessions and events to those affected by Covid-19.
A range of activities has been offered by the Dundee-based team, from business advice and networking to health and wellbeing, with about £11,000 worth of support provided in-kind by local businesses.
About 50 women have also received one-to-one support, with a similar number benefiting from volunteer opportunities.
The programme of activities was created in response to a survey of members of Women’s Business Station.
Conducted in May, more than half of all respondents reported a “very negative” early impact on their business operations, with trading ceasing altogether.
Meanwhile, almost 30% struggled to access appropriate financial support.
On the upside, more than half had diversified to assist with cashflow, from making masks, creating online shops and developing new skills to moving classes online and maximising video conferencing.
Lockdown activities were made possible by Women’s Business Station supporters Tampon Tax Community, National Emergencies Trust, Women’s Fund for Scotland, The Northwood Community Trust and Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education.
Chief executive Angie De Vos said: “Because many of the women we support are in the early stages of creating a business, we knew they would be disproportionately affected by lockdown but we also knew we could do something about it.
“We therefore did what we do best – supported our members, kept them motivated and informed and welcomed others into the network.
“We also provided opportunities for local businesses to raise their own profile by providing in-kind support through online advisory sessions and webinars.
“We are so grateful to our funders for allowing us to continue supporting the women we work with, and for keeping the dreams and plans of these women alive despite the incredibly challenging climate they’re working in.”