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Pathways to Scale - Female Founder Programme

Support provided by Scottish Enterprise

What does this involve?

Pathways to Scale (PTS) is a Scottish Enterprise programme to help women-led businesses get ready to grow. 

The programme will run from August to November 2024 and has space for 10 to 12 women who lead businesses in Scotland.

The programme is open to female founders and co-founders of established startup businesses that are around 1 to 5 years old.

Your company must operate in the Scottish Enterprise area. This includes Aberdeen City and Shire, the east of Scotland, Tayside and the west of Scotland.

The deadline to apply is 11:59 pm on Sunday 4 August 2024.

The programme

PTS focuses on the unique challenges women may face in business. The programme offers:

  • business growth and investment advice
  • peer support
  • network building with potential investors
  • leadership guidance
  • sales advice
  • financial strategy guidance
  • advanced pitch training
  • an opportunity to apply for a grant of up to £20,000

The programme will enhance your financial management skills to help support your company, boost your confidence and improve your networking. 

The programme is made up of 3 main elements, plus a final investor showcase and networking event.

Element 1 – leadership for scale retreat

This is a 2-day immersive retreat with an overnight stay and a networking dinner. It also includes an 'insights for scaling' workshop.  

In this element, you'll learn leadership skills to help you scale up your business.

Element 2 – executive education

In this element, you'll learn: 

  • strategic sales techniques to help you scale up
  • how to build your advisory board
  • advanced pitching skills
  • strategic finance skills, through a financial management and skills workshop

Element 3 – advice and specialist support

In this element, you'll get: 

  • one-to-one financial and investment readiness support
  • information on Scottish Enterprise support

Am I eligible?

To be eligible, you must be a female founder or co-founder of an established startup business.

Your business must:

  • have been operating for around 1 to 5 years
  • be headquartered in Scotland
  • operate in the Scottish Enterprise area, which includes Aberdeen City and Shire, the east of Scotland, Tayside and the west of Scotland

You'll also need to show that your business has ambition to grow. For example, it should have: 

  • a turnover of around £100,000
  • plans to raise investment of £500,000 or more in the next 12 to 18 months
  • 2 to 10 full-time employees
  • ambitions to begin or grow international exports
  • an innovative, scalable product or service

What does this cost?

This is a free service.

Who is this for?

Female founders and co-founders of established startup businesses based in Scotland, with ambitions to grow and scale their companies.

How long does this take?

You'll receive a response to your application within 10 working days of the closing date.

The programme will run from August to November 2024.

Element 1 is a 2-day immersive retreat on 2 and 3 September that includes a fully funded overnight stay. You must be able to attend for the full duration of the retreat.

You must also be able to commit to attend the following sessions:

  • week of 5 August – welcome session (online)
  • week of 5 August – insights discovery introduction
  • week of 12 August – one-to-one with the programme facilitator
  • week of 16 September – finance workshop 
  • week of 23 September – pitching skills workshop
  • week of 7 October – sales workshop
  • week of 21 October – workshop on building an advisory board
  • week of 28 October and 11 November – one-to-one with your pitch trainer
  • week 18 November – participant showcase 

Other parts of the programme are optional and can be arranged for a day and time that suits you.

Important information

The deadline to apply is 11:59 pm on Sunday 4 August 2024.

You must be able to commit to attend the following sessions:

  • week of 5 August – welcome session (online)
  • week of 5 August – insights discovery introduction
  • week of 12 August – one-to-one with the programme facilitator
  • 2 and 3 September – 2-day leadership retreat (overnight)
  • week of 16 September – finance workshop 
  • week of 23 September – pitching skills workshop
  • week of 7 October – sales workshop
  • week of 21 October – workshop on building an advisory board
  • week of 28 October and 11 November – one-to-one with your pitch trainer
  • week 18 November – participant showcase 

Next steps

Visit the Scottish Enterprise website for more information and to apply.

Support provided by Scottish Enterprise