A team of internationally renowned female speakers are set to join first minister Nicola Sturgeon at Scotland’s first women’s investment conference in Edinburgh this March.
Investing in Women Angels – Scotland’s only female business angel group – has revealed its line-up of speakers for the inaugural Ambition & Growth Conference will include Susan Preston, a global economic development consultant and founder of the world’s first ever all-women angel investment syndicate, Seraph Capital Forum.
A vocal campaigner for women in business, Preston was recently awarded the US Women of Valor award, presented by Vice President Joe Biden. She also leads Women First Enterprise, which develops programmes to address the unique challenges faced by female entrepreneurs and encourages women’s participation in high-growth businesses and start-ups.
Joining her will be Lesley Eccles, co-founder of Scottish success story FanDuel; Mei Shui, managing director of Virgin Start-Up; Professor Andrea Nolan, principle and vice-chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University; Lena Wilson, CEO of Scottish Enterprise; and MSP Annabelle Ewing, minister for Youth and Women’s Employment.
Jackie Waring, CEO and founder of Investing Women Angels, said: “Susan Preston is a leading light in the US angel movement and was a big influence on me when deciding to set up Scotland’s first all-female angel group. I am absolutely delighted that she will be joining us from the US for the Ambition & Growth Conference.
“Susan will be in excellent company alongside her fellow keynote speakers, a group of truly inspirational women who are ready to share their wealth of experience with the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
The conference, which is being sponsored by Standard Life, is set to take place at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh on 7 and March and will give entrepreneurs and business people the chance to take part in master classes, practical workshops and one-to-one clinics.
Stephen Ingledew, marketing managing director at Standard Life said: “The Ambition and Growth conference is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who wants to build their own business to hear from and meet with some of the most successful female entrepreneurs and business leaders.”
Pitching competition – call for entries
The event will also host the final of AccelerateHER, Scotland’s first ever pitch competition dedicated to women entrepreneurs. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, will announce the winner at a dinner at Edinburgh Castle on the first night of the conference. The competition is run in partnership with Bright Red Triangle, Edinburgh Napier University’s entrepreneurial hub.
AccelerateHER entrants have until January 31 to submit a one-minute pitch video, via a dedicated YouTube channel, to persuade judges that their business plans have growth and investment potential.
All those who register to the competition will have access to free professional pitch advice and webinar training. The winner will be awarded a £5,000 cash prize sponsored by Chiene + Tait Accountants, who are also offering a comprehensive package of in-kind professional support worth nearly £7,000.
Neil Norman, entrepreneurial tax partner at Chiene + Tait, said: “With three weeks left to enter, the AccelerateHER competition has already received a high calibre of submissions, but there is still plenty of time to get involved, and we’re very excited to see what’s still to come.”
An early bird offer is available on tickets until Friday 8 January and delegates traveling from the Highlands and Islands can benefit from a discount of £100 to cover travel and subsistence. This support has been provided by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.