Angel investor group Investing Women wants to increase the ratio of Scotland’s female angel investors from an estimated one in 20 to the US level of one in four — which would mean increasing the number from about 60 to around 300.
Investing Women chief executive officer Jackie Waring told Scotland’s first conference for female angel investors this week that the gap could be narrowed over the next five years.
More than 200 delegates met at Edinburgh’s Dynamic Earth for Investing Women’s inaugural Ambition & Growth conference which brought together successful and would-be entrepreneurs and established angel investors.
Research on behalf of the Archangels Investors group found that every £1 of investment it had created since its foundation in 1992 had generated the equivalent of £14 in turnover, equating to a £1.3 billion boost for the economy.
“Based on the £44 million raised with the support of angel investment in Scotland last year, if we can get close to the US level of female investors, the additional investment generated could be worth £140 million per year to the economy,” said Waring.
“That will take time and a lot of hard work but it has already been done in the USA so why not here?
“Investing Women’s aims to help improve awareness amongst women and remove some of the barriers and misconceptions surrounding angel investment.
“One of those misconceptions is that you need to be a multi-millionaire to become an angel which simply isn’t true.
“Understanding risk is key and we recognise that everyone has their own risk tolerance level, but many women we’ve spoken to find angel investment an attractive proposition where they love working with the dynamic entrepreneurs whilst having their money working harder for them, especially with Government tax incentives which mitigates the investment risk.”
The Edinburgh conference attracted blue-chip business backing with sponsorship from Standard Life, while prominent conference speakers included FanDuel’s Lesley Eccles, Virgin StartUp chief executive Mei Shui and Scottish Enterprise chief executive Dr Lena Wilson.
Stephen Ingledew, MD, Marketing at Standard Life, said: “The entrepreneurial spirit is clearly thriving in Scotland and judging the shortlist for the AccelerateHer competition, I was inspired by the creativity and collaboration evident in the work being done.
“Businesses of all sizes can learn from the dynamism of small businesses, particularly when it comes to meeting the evolving needs of customers. I’m looking forward to speaking to more entrepreneurs and innovators about this at the conference.”
Lena Wilson said: “Scotland’s women are already leading the way in so many areas but we must translate this success right across our business sector if we are to achieve our full potential and the significant additional benefit to our economy this would bring.
“Conferences like Ambition & Growth highlight the huge appetite so many women have to contribute more and we must do all we can to continue to foster, grow and support that ambition.”