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FSB: Women in business campaign showcases Stirling entrepreneurs

The business advice of a knitwear designer based in Blanefield and a business consultant in Stirling has been showcased as part of a UK-wide campaign to encourage more women to start-up in business.  
Kate Davies, who runs Kate Davies Designs in Blanefield, and Catriona Cripps, owner of Wildcast Solutions in Stirling, have been profiled by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) who are making the case for more women to set up their own firm on International Women’s Day (8 March 2018). 
The FSB highlights research showing that female led businesses in Scotland currently contribute £5 billion to the economy. But the Scottish economy would be given a £7.6 billion if rates of women-led businesses equalled that of men.
Kate Davies, who won FSB Microbusiness of the Year Award in 2016, urged women not to be afraid. She said: “I built my business completely from scratch, with few resources, very little capital and no external investment. I developed projects very slowly and, when they proved profitable, reinvested in new ventures. Starting small meant that my business was responsive and flexible from the very beginning, and that it was able to grow organically.”
She added: “I faced my biggest barrier right at the moment my business began:  I had a stroke, aged 36 and had to abandon my career as an academic lecturer. My business started from a hobby, then supported me (in ways that went beyond simple economics). My business grew slowly with me, as I recovered. Coping with sudden disability and managing my health while developing work in a completely new field was difficult, but in the end, incredibly rewarding. Having faced such a serious personal challenge, many day-to-day business hurdles can seem pretty insignificant.
“I’ve been enjoying taking my writing in new directions over the past year, and would like to develop the publishing side of the business further, producing books that complement our existing offerings in design, photography and textiles.”
Catriona Cripps, who runs a well-established business consultancy Wildcat Solutions in Stirling and is Leader of FSB Forth Valley, stressed the importance of networking. She said: “Network as much as you can, to find the events that suit you and your circumstances best.  Women’s networks are a great place to start to build confidence, but you need to get out there and meet as many people as you possibly can, so ask for recommendations.”
Advice by Kate and Catriona – as well as word of encouragement from more than 100 hundred other women - is being shared on social media by FSB on 8 March 2018, to try to support current and future female entrepreneurs.  
On FSB’s campaign, Helen Walbey, Chair of the FSB Women in Enterprise Taskforce, said: “I’m really excited about the FSB’s campaign. We’re utilising digital platforms to raise the visibility of some really exceptional women. These women come from all sectors and each has a special story to tell and valuable advice to impart to other women.”
On women in business in Scotland, Janet Torley, FSB’s Scottish policy unit vice convenor, said: “Research shows that women are less likely than their male counterparts to know a person in business and, as a result, have fewer opportunities to benefit from exposure to those with business experience and are less likely to see people like themselves succeeding.
“I have been lucky enough to have had so much support over the years from fellow business owners, a campaign like this is important to give back by sharing and empowering the next generation of female entrepreneurs.”