SCOTLAND’S FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS TO GET ON TRACK AS ‘WOMEN’S BUSINESS STATION’ LAUNCHED
An ambitious, national programme aimed at supporting thousands of women on their business journey was launched in Dundee today (Friday 29 November 2019).
Women’s Business Station continues the legacy of the highly successful and award-winning Coca-Cola 5by20 Dundee programme which, since 2017, has supported over 170 women, over 90 of whom have launched their own business and over 40 of whom continue to grow their business.
The new social enterprise has an ambitious, 10 year plan to be positioned in five towns and cities across Scotland. Learning from Coca-Coca, Women’s Business Station has set its own target, ‘10by30’, with hopes to enhance the socio-economic empowerment of 10,000 women in Scotland by 2030.
As well as formally launching the organisation on the first day of its three-day festive market and business start-up exhibition within Wellgate Shopping Centre, Angie De Vos (Foreman), CEO unveiled the organisation’s vision.
Women’s Business Station is in discussions with Dundee City Council and the landlords of Wellgate Shopping Centre to transform a former, 8,000sq ft retail unit into a Business Start-up and Growth Station for aspiring women entrepreneurs. Designed with input from women who took part in the Coca-Cola programme, in conjunction with Dundee architect Alastair Fitchet of AJFitchet Architect, the unit would house 10 co-working pods, community area, meeting spaces and retail spaces where women can test the market. It is hoped that works could commence by Summer 2020.
Launched by Councillor John Alexander, Leader of Dundee City Council, the event was attended by around 150 invited guests including many of the businesswomen who have been through the programme to date, and whose businesses are now thriving.
Mr Alexander said, “The launch of Women’s Business Station is an incredible opportunity, not only for those involved in the programme but for the city generally. This programme has made a significant impact on female entrepreneurs but has also shone a spotlight on how we can develop and nurture new businesses in Dundee. Everyone involved should be incredibly proud, as I am, and excited for the future with the collaboration with Wellgate Shopping Centre. I can’t wait to see what is on offer.”
The seeds of Women’s Business Station were sown back in 2017 when Angie De Vos was invited to tailor the multi-national Coca-Cola 5by20 initiative for a Dundee audience. Angie went on to make an unprecedented impact throughout the city and further afield, creating a brand new model which would add significant value to existing services and attract a hidden market to get out there and prove its potential.
With Coca-Cola funding drawing to a close, Women’s Business Station will embrace the next phase of the journey, embracing the expertise and empowerment of women throughout Scotland through three themes – Training, Trading and Talent.
Through an annual calendar of practical business and enterprise training courses, workshops, seminars, coaching and mentoring, women will have access to free training, allowing them to identify their vision and values, building their confidence and providing them with local support to make things happen.
Women’s Business Station is also focused on creating a commercially viable and sustainable model, including the creation of vibrant entrepreneurial hubs such as those planned for Wellgate Shopping Centre, sparking trading-related activities, economic growth, new jobs and opportunities through pop-up shops, markets, referrals and, new for 2020, ecommerce.
Women will also have the chance to share their talents and services on a digital portal and via ongoing marketing campaigns.
Mrs De Vos said, “With the results and evidence from the last two years clear to see, it’s time to take this to the next level, act on our ambition and those of the women themselves and extend our support right across Scotland. Women’s Business Station is here to support you whatever your business goal, whether it’s turning a hobby into a micro-business or embarking on a more ambitious plan. We’ve already shown we can make a tangible difference and are now set to inspire and support even more women on their business journey, making a truly positive impact on their lives, and in their communities.”
George Grimes, Associate Director – Retail Management at MAPP (managing agents of Wellgate Shopping Centre) added, “We are delighted to be partnering with Women’s Business Station on their official launch and festive market, a fantastic addition to our retail offering. Successful city centres are built upon strong and vibrant communities and we look forward to continuing to work with Women’s Business Station to help deliver their future plans to reinvigorate the local community here in Dundee and help it not only succeed but thrive.”
Although some training courses will remain free, a new membership model will allow Women’s Business Station to be sustainable, grow and create new opportunities. Training programmes will also be offered to local businesses, driving growth and supporting the commercial aims of the organisation.