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Highland businesswoman of the year Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott aims to encourage more diversity as Women's Enterprise Scotland ambassador

By Calum MacLeod

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Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott.
Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott.

Highland communications professional Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott is helping to close the gender gap in enterprise after becoming one of 35 new Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) Ambassadors.

WES is the community interest company which works to ensure women have access to the gender specific support they need to start-up and thrive in business. Women-owned businesses in Scotland make up just 14 per cent of SME (small and medium enterprise) employer businesses, down from 20.6 per cent in 2017.

Ms Macdonald-Nethercott, owner of Strath Communications Ltd and ethical clothing company Wilder Waves, is part of the latest cohort of women business owners to be appointed to the WES Ambassador programme.

WES ambassadors provide accessible, visible role models for other women looking to start and grow their own business.

She commented: “It is important to me on becoming a WES Ambassador as it will allow me to share the mistakes, the challenges and the successes being a women in business brings.

"I want to inspire young girls and women that running your own business is a viable career path. Being a business owner in a rural area I am able to show that you can grow your own business, fulfilling their economic potential for your self and your area.”

The new intake takes the WES Ambassador cohort to over 70 women, owning and running businesses across Scotland, from Orkney to the Borders and from the Outer Hebrides to Fife. Sectors represented are wide ranging, from food, travel and textiles to professional services, wellbeing, hospitality and manufacturing.

Women report fundamentally different experiences to men in business. Challenges faced by women include access to finance, disproportionate caring responsibilities, access to networks, mentoring and role models.

Ms Macdonald-Nethercott added that this year Strath Communications will focus on sustainable marketing and how businesses can communicate what they are doing and where they are on their sustainability journey, a message which really aligns with owning a business based in the Cairngorms National Park area.

Sustainably is also the driving force behind her second business Wilder Waves,, which Ms Macdonald-Nethercott launched in 2021, the same year which saw her named Business Woman of the Year 2021 by Highland Business Women.

She concluded: “Whilst we know that women owned businesses contribute £8.8 billion Gross Value Add into the Scottish economy and have created over 230,000 jobs, there is so much more that could be done. As a WES Ambassador, I will be playing my part in helping to achieve the gender balanced business ecosystem which is so crucial to our post pandemic economic recovery.”

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