Female Scottish investors can emulate US success

Female Scottish investors can emulate US success

Attendees at Scotland’s first conference for female angel investors and entrepreneurs will be urged to emulate US success where one in four angel investors are female.

In Scotland that figure is closer to 1 in 20 out of an estimated 1,200 investors, but Investing Women chief executive officer Jackie Waring believes the gap can be narrowed over the next five years.

More than 200 delegates will today (Mon 7 March) gather at Edinburgh’s Dynamic Earth for Investing Women’s inaugural Ambition & Growth conference which brings together successful and would-be entrepreneurs and established angel investors.

Waring said her group’s ambition was to help increase Scotland’s female angels from an estimated 60 to 300, matching the female representation already achieved in the USA, and in the process giving the Scottish economy a significant boost.

Recent research on behalf of veteran Archangels Investors group found that every £1 of investment it had created since its foundation in 1992 had generated the equivalent of £14 in turnover, equating to a £1.3bn uplift to the economy.

She said: “Based on the £44m raised with the support of angel investment in Scotland last year, if we can get close to the US level of female investors, the additional investment generated could be worth £140m per year to the economy. That will take time and a lot of hard work but it has already been done in the USA so why not here?

“Investing Women’s aims to help improve awareness amongst women and remove some of the barriers and misconceptions surrounding angel investment. One of those misconceptions is that you need to be a multi-millionaire to become an angel which simply isn’t true.

“Understanding risk is key and we recognise that everyone has their own risk tolerance level, but many women we’ve spoken to find angel investment an attractive proposition where they love working with the dynamic entrepreneurs whilst having their money working harder for them, especially with government tax incentives which mitigates the investment risk.”

Investing Women has been extremely active since launching as an angel group. Within the last 20 months, thanks to Scottish Government entrepreneurial support, over 1,000 emerging entrepreneurs and potential new female angels have accessed workshops, events and now the Ambition & Growth Conference.

The conference has also attracted blue-chip business backing with sponsorship from Standard Life, while prominent conference speakers include Susan Preston, the US based founder of the world’s first female angel group, unicorn company FanDuel’s Lesley Eccles, Virgin StartUp chief executive Mei Shui, and Scottish Enterprise chief executive Dr Lena Wilson.

Chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, Dr Lena Wilson, added: "Scotland's women are already leading the way in so many areas but we must translate this success right across our business sector if we are to achieve our full potential and the significant additional benefit to our economy this would bring.

“Conferences like Ambition & Growth highlight the huge appetite so many women have to contribute more and we must do all we can to continue to foster, grow and support that ambition."