A new programme from a Dundee social enterprise aims to prevent women getting left behind in the pandemic.
The Aspiring Women programme is headed by Angie De Vos, chief executive of Women’s Business Station.
During the pandemic, Women’s Business Station have doubled their staff.
With the tagline “nobody should be left behind”, the programme will support women in vulnerable positions.
Mrs De Vos says: “Pre-existing inequalities were high before the pandemic and the gap has stretched beyond imagination.
“What will happen is those that were in vulnerable positions before the pandemic are going to be in an even worse position and left behind.”
Aspiring Women to teach business skills
The free programme will teach participants about empowerment, wellbeing, motivation, routine and having the right mindset.
Aspiring Women will also include activities around enterprise and business skills.
Mrs De Vos says: “Business and enterprise touches every part of our life, you can’t get away from it. Even if you don’t start a business, they’re transferrable skills.”
The programme is set to launch in September.
Empowering women in business
Women’s Business Station was set up in 2017 through The Coca-Cola 5by20 initiative which aimed to economically empower five million women by 2020.
She says: “We exist to support women who have an idea, vision or passion to start a business or even just learn more.
“They might have a hobby or technical skill they want to see if they can make into a business. There is no pressure to start one if they just want to explore.”
Building on the Coca-Cola initiative, Women’s Business Station is working to improve the socio-economic empowerment of 10,000 Scottish women in business by 2030.
Mrs De Vos says: “Our members set up a business after working in a women dominated sector, so the chances are they’re going to go into this business and undervalue and underpay themselves.
“We want to raise more ambition so that in the future, women start to climb up the ladder.”
Building a business network
Before the Coca-Cola 5by20 initiative, Mrs De Vos worked in social enterprise.
Being part of the Coca-Cola programme led Mrs De Vos to do even more for the women in her local community.
She says: “I’m a great believer that we only have one chance at this life.
“If you can build up the resilience, the mindset and the support network of other women, I’m a firm believer that empowered women empower women.”
Helping women get their business off the ground is a large part of Women’s Business Station’s work. It also creates a network where members learn from each other’s experiences.
Working through the pandemic
The women’s meeting place shifted online as the pandemic hit. As many businesses struggled, Women’s Business Station provided support throughout lockdown.
Mrs De Vos spent lockdown taking part in webinars and courses.
We found some interesting statistics in the Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship. Some of these facts really solidify the need for their to be more women in business!
To read the full report: https://t.co/2agOQBOA0y
— Women’s Business Station (@womenbizstation) June 1, 2021
Doubling her staff from three to seven also meant she could focus on creating the Aspiring Women programme.
Despite having tough days during lockdown, Mrs De Vos describes working through the pandemic as “fantastic”.
She says: “We all went through moments where we wanted to get under the covers and not get up, but we have to.
“Ultimately, the day is going to be lost if you do that, and that could be when something amazing happens.”