Media release: STV and Women’s Enterprise Scotland join forces to build back a better economy in Scotland


STV and Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) have today announced an ambitious new strategic partnership to help develop and grow women-led business in Scotland.

A recent report showed that, as the economic fall-out of the Covid-19 pandemic has continued, more and more male-founded businesses have found ways to grow – whereas the number of women-led start-ups reporting growth has seen a sharp decrease. [1]

With women-owned businesses already in the minority, STV and WES have stepped forward to support women with resources, training and insights to help boost their business aspirations and enable them to play a leading role in the Scottish economy.

The partnership will include:

  • STV masterclasses for subscribers to the Women’s Business Centre website: an innovative new, free support platform helping hundreds of women across Scotland to start up and grow a business;
  • WES expert presentations at STV Growth Academy events to catalyse business innovation and growth;
  • Women’s Business Centre presentations at STV Growth Academy events to build business community resilience and strategies for managing through the pandemic, from the lived experiences of leading businesswomen; and
  • STV training and support for the Women’s Enterprise Scotland Ambassador programme, which brings together over 50 female entrepreneurs to provide visible, relatable role models for women who are considering starting a business or are growing an existing one.

WES was created in 2011 to develop the full potential of female business owners, and create an environment where women-led businesses can thrive.

STV, as a leading media brand in Scotland, reaches at least 82 per cent of Scots each month. By harnessing STV’s wealth of experience in media planning, creative brand development, consumer insight and driving a return on investment, the new partnership is expected to support women entrepreneurs in building successful, enduring businesses.

Research shows that women-owned companies contribute £8.8 billion into the Scottish economy every year and have created over 230,000 jobs in local communities across the country. However, women-owned employer firms still make up just 15 per cent of the business base in Scotland.

Carolyn Currie (pictured), Women’s Enterprise Scotland CEO, said: “Since our inception in 2011, WES has been committed to calling for the needs-based, gender specific business support which research shows will enable more women to fulfil their aspirations and unlock an £8.8bn economic opportunity for Scotland.

“One of the ways this support can be delivered is by collaborating with commercially astute, expert partners, which is why we are delighted to be working with STV to give women business owners access to their wealth of media skills and to the STV Growth Academy and its experience in supporting SMEs.

“The inclusive economic growth set out by the Sustainable Development Goals will not happen without targeted action.

“Our recently-launched Women’s Business Centre is recognised as the first freely-accessible digital platform providing gender-aware business support in Scotland, created by experts in women’s enterprise and women entrepreneurs themselves.

“The platform is designed to help women start and grow their own businesses and realise their full business potential. We look forward to collaborating with STV on a number of initiatives which will enable women business owners from across Scotland to access a new range of expert resources to boost their business growth.”

Peter Reilly, commercial director at STV, said: “We’re thrilled to partner with Women’s Enterprise Scotland as an ‘agent of change’, helping to provide a strong network of support for women business owners to develop, scale up and thrive during this challenging time.

“At STV, we’re committed to supporting the next generation of businesses to drive Scotland’s economic recovery. This collaboration will unleash the potential of women business owners across the country and, in turn, help tackle the unacceptable gender gap in Scottish enterprise participation.”


For further information, please contact the STV press office:

Katie Martin at or call 0141 300 3109

Stephen Innes at or call 07500 757049

For further information about Women’s Enterprise Scotland and the Women’s Business Centre, please contact Gaynor Simpson at

Notes for editors:

[1] Based on statistics reported in Resilience and Recovery: A Female Founders Forum Project by The Entrepreneurs Network in partnership with Barclays.

About Women’s Enterprise Scotland

Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) is a research-led not for profit Community Interest Company, established in 2011, which champions women-led and women-owned businesses. WES advocates for better evidence-based policy making and believes that delivering expert, needs-based business support will enable women to fulfil their aspirations, and unlock an £8.8bn economic potential to boost the economy. WES works in collaboration with local, national and international partners towards the vision of a gender equal, diverse and inclusive business ecosystem which will allow innovation and productivity to thrive.

About the STV Growth Fund

STV’s successful Growth Fund launched in 2018 and was set up to support SMEs and help boost the Scottish economy. Growth Fund investment is available for businesses to boost their marketing activities through match funding or revenue share arrangements and aims to connect businesses with consumers across Scotland earlier in their business journey. STV has provided almost £10 million of funding across more than 340 deals to make TV advertising more accessible for businesses of all shapes and sizes. In March 2020 STV doubled the size of the Growth Fund to £20 million to extend marketing support to even more businesses across Scotland.

From retailers and home improvements services to leisure and e-commerce businesses, members have achieved success. A massive 91 per cent of members saw an increase in awareness after their campaign and over half have already seen an increase in profit, 75 per cent of those saw a minimum increase of 20 per cent.

Further information is available at

Source: Growth Fund Impact Survey. Member interviews, July and August 2019, 45 phone interviews. Growth Fund consumer research via ScotPulse, July 2019, 1,151 respondents.

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