Dundee Hosts Major Showcase of Female Entrepreneurs

L-R: Debbie Bolton, Karen Hamilton, Lindsey-Anne Knox
L-R: Debbie Bolton, Karen Hamilton, Lindsey-Anne Knox

A major showcase positioning Dundee as Scotland’s epicentre of aspiring female entrepreneurs will take place in the city today.

Coca-Cola 5by20’s very first Exhibition and Trade Show will raise awareness of the trail-blazing programme and its values, and provide a platform for its members to trade, network and carry out market research.

Launched in 2010, Coca-Cola 5by20 is a global initiative with one purpose – to enable the economic empowerment of five million women by 2020.  Run in over 60 countries around the world, Dundee is the only city in Western Europe to host the programme.

The event, to be held at Apex City Quay Hotel and Spa, Dundee on Friday 30 November 2018, will be split into two parts.  Launched by Jenny Marra MSP, the  morning event (10am until 12 noon) is sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland, with a number of speakers including some of the 5by20 women themselves.   Then, at 12.30pm, the #520ftchallenge will be launched, with the goal of attracting 520 pairs of feet into the event, sponsored by Dundee’s Sole Body Soul and The Rookery in Carnoustie.    The Exhibition and Trade Show will then open its doors to the public between 12.30 and 5pm, with around 40 businesses selling their produce, from gin and wine to crafts, jewellery, arts and sculpture.  Each pair of feet through the door will receive a fee Coca-Cola goody bag, with prize draws and raffles running throughout the day.

Developed and led by Programme Director Angie Foreman, Dundee has created a unique and award-winning programme which boasts incredible results.  In only 20 months, the programme has supported 110 women, 63 of whom have launched their own business and 29 of whom continue to grow their business.  Furthermore, 44 new jobs have been created in the process, alongside over 30 volunteer opportunities.

Giving ambitious women entrepreneurs the opportunity to share and learn from each other while increasing their business knowledge and confidence, the programme covers core business topics delivered by industry-led business owners or experts.  After a week of creative experiential learning, each participant has the opportunity to pitch their business needs to a 10-strong support panel of business experts, harnessing the goodwill and expertise of the business community.

The support given to participants does not end on completion of the course.  Taking inspiration from the Sirolli model, Angie has also created a support network for the women, which now comprises of 40 local and national businesses and support panel members.  In addition, 25 mentors have recently joined the six month Mentoring programme, which currently benefits 30 mentees.  It is estimated that the in-kind support of the business community over the last 20 months is worth in the region of £300,000.

Angie said, “In just 20 months, it’s been  absolutely fantastic to see the enthusiasm, support and commitment shown by a host of businesses and other organisations throughout Dundee and Scotland as a whole.  We have already seen some great success stories from the programme and, with this ongoing support from the local business community in particular, I firmly believe that Dundee is set to be Scotland’s epicentre of aspiring female entrepreneurs.

“I would very much encourage the local community to embrace and support this event, which will not only provide a unique opportunity for some of the city’s most successful new businesses, but also provide a shop floor for some wonderful Christmas gifts!”

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