Business Creation Course Targets Scotland’s Enterprising Rural Women

Louisa Macdonell, Chief Executive of Development Trusts Association Scotland
Katharine Johnston

A Business Creation Project designed to develop enterprise skills and encourage business start-up ideas amongst women based in rural areas of Scotland will launch on Monday 15 February.

The project, which is being delivered by Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) and Development Trusts Association Scotland (DTAS), will initially run in three target areas; the Small Isles, New Cumnock in East Ayrshire and Liddesdale in the Scottish Borders. It will run over a 10- week period with weekly sessions held by zoom for 1.5 hours each week, working with a cohort of around 30 women.

The programme, which has been oversubscribed due to demand,  is designed to provide women with the confidence and information they need at the very beginning of their business start-up journey.  Topics covered on the course will include business planning, attracting customers, pricing and managing finances.   Participants will get the opportunity to meet other local women interested in starting up a business, as well as networking with women from areas across Scotland during the zoom sessions.

Louisa Macdonell, Chief Executive of Development Trusts Association Scotland said; “The COVID-19 has placed the role of Scotland’s development trusts truly centre stage. Across the country, these community-led organisations have been working relentlessly to support local people and we are delighted to be bringing this crucial business start-up training to an initial group of three rural areas. Development trusts are all about improving places and spaces. Their work in empowering local communities can help unlock economic potential and support the creation of new businesses, which leads in turn to new jobs.

She continued; “It is particularly important, given the many unique challenges which rural communities face – from inconsistent broadband coverage, to poor transport links and greater distances to food supplies and health services -- that we do as much as possible to help these communities recover from the pandemic. Business creation leads to job creation. With less than 16% of SMEs in Scotland currently being women-owned employer businesses, it is vital that we inspire, motivate and inform women in rural communities on what is involved in starting and running a business, thereby unlocking their untapped economic potential.”

Claire Musson, Learning and Enterprise Manager at Newcastleton and District Community Trust in Liddesdale said; “ We want to provide learning opportunities and enterprise support in the local community and this programme, which will be delivered by the expert team at WES, will provide women with the confidence and information they need at the very beginning of their business start-up journey. It is the perfect combination of national training backed by local knowledge and support and we are looking forward to seeing the benefits being realised with new business and new jobs created in the local area.”

Wendy Pring, a trustee at New Cumnock Development Trust said; ““The course is designed to inspire, motivate and inform women on the benefits and challenges of business creation and the processes involved. It is rooted in our community and grown out of a specific local need. We know there is currently a real lack of any business creation programme in the area with a gender-appropriate approach and research shows that whilst many women may consider starting their own businesses, this is often ruled out as a career option due to a lack of insight into and awareness of what is involved.”

For further information about Women’s Enterprise Scotland, please contact Gaynor Simpson on 07790 104073 or email

For further information about DTA Scotland, please see

*Photo above of Louisa Macdonell, Chief Executive of Development Trusts Association Scotland.