Business Gateway Edinburgh has unveiled plans for an online event to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) and launch its 5th Women in Business (WIB) Growth Programme to help female entrepreneurs upscale their business. 

The free event on Wednesday, 3 March, from 10am till 12noon, will feature a host of speakers, including the co-founder of Social Bite, Alice Thompson, who is embarking on a new venture as a coach and mentor with founders of growth businesses and public speaker.

Alice, who has received three Honorary Doctorate degrees, will be speaking about her 10-year career building the charity from the ground up at age 21, influencing major changes in the Scottish homeless system, working with celebrity ambassadors, including George Clooney, and sharing some of her life lessons along the way.

Entrepreneur Kristen Hunter, the founder of Whisky Frames who appeared on Dragons’ Den with her husband Ross, will also be sharing her inspiring story which includes launching her new company, Barrelsmiths in the first lockdown.

During the event attendees will have the chance to network in breakout rooms and also hear from Councillor Kate Campbell, Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work Convener and Elin Williamson, Business Growth and Inclusion Senior Manager at The City of Edinburgh Council, who will officially launch the new WIB Growth Programme.

The six-week programme focuses on growth and financial planning to help women in business build a sustainable and scalable business model and provides practical support in areas including funding, productivity and leadership. 

International Women’s Day, which is officially on the 8th March, started in 1911 to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender equality.

The theme this year is #ChooseToChallenge to encourage people to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. 

City of Edinburgh Council, Convener of Housing, Homelessness & Fair Work, Councillor Kate Campbell said: “I’m really looking forward to our International Women’s Day event this year where we will hear inspiring stories from our guest speakers and celebrate the outstanding achievements of female entrepreneurs in the city.

“It’s such a great opportunity for us to bring women together to network at a time when many businesses need it most.

“The feedback we have always received from participants who have completed our WIB Programme is that spending time and learning from other businesses is one of the highlights, which is why I’m delighted to be able to launch our new programme on the day.”

Alice said:  “Being invited by Business Gateway Edinburgh to speak at this year’s International Women’s Day event is a real honour.

“I’m looking forward to sharing the story of my career, including the highs and lows and my plans for the future, which includes mentoring and coaching growth businesses, which is an area I’m very passionate about.

“Also, any opportunity to network with likeminded women and share stories, resources and tips will always be high up on my priority list.”

This is the 3rd annual IWD event hosted by Business Gateway Edinburgh. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was the keynote speaker at the inaugural event at The City Chambers in Edinburgh in 2019.

Link to register for the IWD event on the 3rd March –

Applications will open on the 3rd March to Edinburgh-based businesses for the six-week WIB programme, which starts on the 21st August 2021.  To apply please email for details.  Deadline is 31st July.

To find out how Business Gateway Edinburgh can help your business visit or call 0131 516 9814.