SCOTLAND’S dynamic network for female-founders, AccelerateHER, has appointed Elizabeth Pirrie as its new CEO. The Scottish-based organisation, which empowers UK female-founded businesses to scale for growth, has made the new appointment amid UK-wide expansion of both its team and operations.
Founder and current CEO, Jackie Waring, will now become AccelerateHER’s Chair, where she will focus on launching a new fund for female-founded companies in Scotland. She will also continue to work alongside Elizabeth on the ongoing strategic growth of the organisation.
Elizabeth spent the past four years as Chief Operating Officer for AccelerateHER and its sister company Investing Women Angels (IWA). During this time, both organisations have seen significant development with the introduction of mentoring services, UK-wise expansion of the its awards programme, multiple international missions for founders, and a successful nationwide partnership with Barclays Eagle Labs.
A qualified chartered and certified accountant, Elizabeth was Finance Director of one of Scotland’s largest independent care home providers. In the five years prior to joining AccelerateHER and IWA, she used her experience in finance and avidity for entrepreneurship to support business owners and start-ups in the North East of Scotland, delivering the Business Gateway service within Elevator. She then joined Highlands and Islands Enterprise as Account Manager where she also served as Acting Head of Business Growth. Elizabeth brings her own entrepreneurial experience into this role, having run her own company for four years.
AccelerateHER is now a 5,300 strong network of female-founders who, through the expertise of Elizabeth, Jackie and the wider team, can access all the necessary tools to grow and scale their businesses and raise investment. The 24 previous AccelerateHER Awards finalists have significantly benefitted from the programme raising over £45 million in investment. Whilst accessing learning, mentoring and regular events, the network has become a supportive and thriving community of female-founders. Elizabeth’s appointment continues this upward trajectory and will enable further work that responds to the needs of female-founders across the UK.
Elizabeth Pirrie said: “I’m delighted to take on this new challenge at AccelerateHER. I look forward to carrying Jackie’s legacy forward to help more female founders maximise their business growth potential.”
“In the past few years AccelerateHER and IWA has expanded and flourished into an engaged and dynamic community and we in turn have been able to support more female founders, in more diverse ways. The clear feedback from the network is that AccelerateHER is a supportive and empowering organisation. We will aim to build on these virtues by recognising and celebrating female-led businesses that are doing good to tackle key challenges in society and promoting economic growth.”
Chair, Jackie Waring said: “Over the last four years Elizabeth has been a cornerstone of our operation and a driving force behind the UK growth of AccelerateHER. I am therefore delighted that she will be taking over the role of CEO and I’m excited to be working with her as we continue to build our presence, supporting greater numbers of female-founded companies in Scotland and across the UK.”