An investor panel event will focus on the barriers facing women trying to raise funds for their nascent businesses.

The Pathways Forward programme, led by Ana Stewart, will convene a discussion on Thursday aimed at trying to address the gender imbalance in access to capital.

Stewart, who co-authored the Pathways review with Mark Logan, will join the event at the offices of investment firm BGF in Edinburgh.

Fiona Dornan from BGF, Niki McKenzie from Archangels and Malcolm Kpedekpo from Panoramic Growth Equity will also take part, with former BBC broadcaster Vanessa Collingridge as chair.

Stewart said: “Investment is one of the five main strands of the Pathways report, and we have a great panel in place on the day. The timing of the event is very relevant too, as we have seen a flurry of investment support announcements including the launch of two major funds in Scotland – the British Business Bank’s £150 million Investment Fund, and the £100 million fund managed by Par Equity which has Scottish National Investment Bank as a cornerstone investor. These come off the back of the Scottish Government’s own £17.5 million commitment made in September to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem.” 

She added: “It’s great to see these funds launch with the ability to support so many high growth potential companies here in Scotland. At the same time, it is important to challenge ourselves collectively to find different ways to ensure women access these excellent funds. If we don’t, there is a real risk that the number of females accessing and securing investment will remain at persistently low levels.” 

“Overall”, Stewart continued, “we need to recognise that it will take a collective effort to remove barriers for women starting and leading businesses, all the data points to the breadth of the challenge, but we know the prize is worth the application because it will get untapped talent into the ecosystem which will help to grow the economy. And we know the talent is there, in fact there is an abundance of it.” 

Earlier this month, The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary Neil Gray announced £2.9 million of funding for women and other priority groups split between two funds – with 42 recipients sharing £1.6 million through the Ecosystem Fund, and 20 projects receiving £1.3 million through a new Pre-Start Pathways Fund.  

The establishment of a network of pop-up ‘pre-start’ centres across Scotland, a key recommendation of the Stewart Report, is aimed at making it easier for women to access entrepreneurial pathways.

For details on how to join the livestream panel between 1-2pm on Thursday 16th November: