§ Ms Primarolo
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what initiatives his Department has to assist and encourage women who want to start their own businesses; and how the success of any initiative is monitored and assessed. 
§ Mr. Kynoch
[holding answer 21 June 1995]: The Scottish Office Industry Department and its associated economic development agencies, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, have in place a wide range of measures to assist men or women who wish to start up businesses. The impact of these measures is monitored and periodically evaluated against the objectives set for them.
With regard to the specific needs of women who wish to start their own businesses, Scottish Enterprise published a report in 1994 "Women Starting Businesses—Making It Happen" which summarised its research into the problems and issues in this area. This was followed in December 1994 by the publication of an action plan to implement the recommendations of that report. This action plan, which is in the process of being implemented, sets out a number of specific tasks related to each of the following strategic issues, as set out in the plan:Releasing potential-encouraging more women to embrace the notion of becoming entrepreneurs and persuading more of them to 'have a go'.Education and training—improving the contribution that schools and universities make to nurturing entrepreneurship among women.The media—using TV, radio and the press to provide more positive encouragement, including promoting realistic role models, for women thinking about setting up in business.Encouraging more growth companies—addressing the weakness highlighted in research whereby women seem to set up businesses with low aspirations and low growth prospects.Access to finance—finding ways of improving access to loan and equity finance for women business founders, and improving the encouragement given to women business founders by banks and equity funders.609WInformal networking—encouraging women entrepreneurs to make more effective use of their business, social and family networks to develop their businesses.Support from formal networks-improving the support given to women business founders by local enterprise companies, enterprise trusts and other business advisers in both the private and public sectors.
A range of programmes aimed specifically at promoting business creation by women in their areas has already been put in place by individual local enterprise companies.
I will send the hon. Member copies of both publications referred to and have arranged for them to be placed in the Library of the House.