Sunday, 14 February 2021 18:41

Female Entrepreneurs Make Finals Pitch For AccelerateHER Award

Jackie Waring, chief executive officer, Investing Women

Sixteen inspirational companies have made it through to the semi-finals of Scotland’s only pitch competition for women-led companies.

More than 100 start-up and established businesses entered the AccelerateHER competition, which angel entrepreneur group Investing Women say is an overwhelming response for such an event.

The final 16 are based throughout Scotland, ranging from a gin-making venture in Jura, a science animation company in Dundee to a turbine blade designer in Edinburgh and a contemporary kilt maker in Glasgow.

The budding entrepreneurs now face a judging panel at Napier University’s Business School (Feb 24) with six going forward to Investing Women’s first ever Ambition & Growth Conference being held next month (7-8 March) at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh.

The eventual winner will receive a £5000 cash prize, an accountancy support package from AccelerateHER sponsor Chiene + Tait (worth a total of £18,000) plus legal and mentoring assistance from female business angels.

The AccelerateHER winner will be announced by the Scottish Government’s Minister for Youth and Women's Employment Annabelle Ewing, MSP, at a gala dinner in Edinburgh Castle on 7 March. Keynote speakers at the two-day event include Susan Preston, the US entrepreneur who established the world’s first women-only angel group, Scottish Enterprise chief executive officer Dr Lena Wilson, FanDuel executive vice president Lesley Eccles, Virgin StartUp managing director Mei Shui, Napier University principal, Professor Andrea Nolan, OBE, and a team from conference sponsor Standard Life, led by managing director of customer and marketing Stephen Ingledew.

The conference brings together for the first time successful female angel investors and young businesses seeking investment and will feature a series of masterclasses, advice clinics and talks by leading entrepreneurs and investors.

Investing Women chief executive officer, Jackie Waring, said: “The number of entries we received is unprecedented and is clear evidence of the growth potential and ambition of women entrepreneurs in Scotland. The quality of the entrepreneurs behind these varied and exciting businesses is outstanding.

“In these days of frequent job loss and cut-back announcements, it is refreshing to see so many young businesses at the other end of the entrepreneurship cycle led by inspirational women awash with ideas, many of whom will create jobs and generate wealth in local communities.

“As Scotland’s only female-only angel investment group, we will do our best to ensure that not only is the AccelerateHer winner given every encouragement to fulfil their potential but we are also looking at ways to support every business which entered a pitch.”

Neil Norman, entrepreneurial partner at AccelerateHER sponsor Chiene + Tait, said: “Judging all the high quality entries we received was a big challenge, however it has proved Scotland’s reputation as a world leader in entrepreneurship. We can’t wait to find out more about the entrants at the semi-final of the pitch competition at Napier University and for the finale at the Ambition & Growth Conference.”

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