Rachel Ross Nicola Sturgeon
'Our Elevator E3 pilot projects across Scotland have focussed on providing access to entrepreneurial support for those that struggle with barriers to mainstream business support engagement, including female entrepreneurs.'

Rachel Ross Strengthening Communities Director, Elevator

Elevator welcomes the recommendations outlined in this latest review that identifies ways to reduce the gender gap and boost the economy.

A new Scottish Government-commissioned review has named Elevator’s E3 (Elevator’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem) project as having ‘pioneered’ a new pop-up model now proposed to support women in entrepreneurship.

‘Pathways: A New Approach for Women in Entrepreneurship’ was commissioned by the Scottish Government to investigate the under-participation of women in entrepreneurship and identify ways to unlock the untapped potential.

Led by Ana Stewart, Scottish tech entrepreneur and investor, and co-authored with Mark Logan, Chief Entrepreneurial Advisor to the Scottish Government, the review proposes 31 recommendations to help close the gender gap and boost Scotland’s economy, including a proposal to provide start-up training and support in a range of pop-up locations to help more women, and other primary care givers, access services.

This pop-up initiative is an extension of a concept pioneered by Elevator’s E3 programme, a UK government funded pilot project which launched local hubs in Aberdeenshire, Dundee, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire to provide a network of enterprise support services in local communities last year.

Ana Stewart and Rachel Ross

Ana Stewart and Rachel Ross

Elevator’s Strengthening Communities Director, Rachel Ross, was invited to attend the official reception for Stewart’s review on Monday at Bute House in Edinburgh, hosted by Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

Our Elevator E3 pilot projects across Scotland have focussed on providing access to entrepreneurial support for those that struggle with barriers to mainstream business support engagement, including female entrepreneurs. Using a mobile outreach van and a team of passionate professionals purposefully recruited from the target locations; we take our relatable support right into the heart of communities.

Engagement levels have been outstanding, with 73% of participants recognising that they would not have engaged with business support if it hadn't come directly to them. This essential outreach approach has been referenced in the Stewart Review as a key future driver in helping Scotland not just Scale Up businesses but also Scale Deep, contributing to the Scottish Government's Community Wealth Building agenda, whilst driving forward economic progress from the grass-roots upwards.

As part of the E3 project, Elevator has delivered a number of tailored programmes including 'I Can and I will' in North Lanarkshire.  Designed to engage with female ‘mumpreneurs’ and ‘nonpreneurs’, these type of light touch programmes have been scheduled to work around childcare and actively encourage women to give their own business a go.” – Rachel Ross, Strengthening Communities Director at Elevator

For farming entrepreneur and mother of four, Lynn Forrest, E3 was her first experience of accessible business support:

It makes a massive difference to have local support. As a busy working mum of four children, you don’t often get to take time out to concentrate on your business, so having that support brought literally to your doorstep makes a huge difference to people like me.

I took part in E3’s Seeds of Success programme, which I found invaluable and gave me the opportunity to network with other agricultural businesswomen who are now friends – we continue to give each other help, advice and support.

It made a real difference that the support was fully-funded and every member of the team gave 100%. I felt valued as a person, as a woman in business and in agriculture.Lynn Forrest, Easter Sills Boer Goats

Stewart’s review builds on the Pre-scaler concept first proposed in Scotland’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation – now proposing an E3-style model of Pop-up Pre-starts (or PUPS) operating on a temporary, recurring basis.

E3 Mobile Hub in Aberdeenshire

E3 Mobile Hub in Aberdeenshire

Elevator’s commitment and alignment to this review of course extends beyond the E3 business support model.  Throughout the course of the year, Elevator delivers a series of programmes/accelerators that address strengthening confidence, changing mindset and overcoming barriers. Elevator have successfully delivered the Scottish Enterprise’s Principally Women programme over a number of years, as well as the ‘Let’s Talk’ series in conjunction with the Royal bank of Scotland.

Elevator is a Social Enterprise and impact is key to it’s delivery model. It is the largest provider of Business Gateway services in Scotland.  Across all four regions where Elevator delivers the Business Gateway support, we run regular Women in Business events, not only providing peer support for women who are either just starting or already in business, but also providing them with learning opportunities in areas including, confidence and mindset, digital and marketing, leadership, strategy, finance and much more.

We see this as a fundamental part of our services and have a high number of attendees at all of our events.” – Roz Taylor, Operations Director at Elevator.

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