Three Key Shifts to Make ‘Enterprising Masses’ a Reality in Scotland


The women from the Small, Powerful Groups movement stole the show at our recent event – as always!

“Female Entrepreneurship at the Periphery: Where Imperfections are Gifts,” was a pivotal event highlighting the transformative power of female entrepreneurship. Held in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, it put the spotlight on the often-overlooked potential of women from marginalised communities. Access the full report to the Scottish Government created in collaboration by Professor Norin Arshed – University of Strathclyde, Dr Stephen Knox – University of Stirling and Professor Graeme Martin – University of Dundee here.

Reflecting on our 13-year journey, I distilled our experience into three fundamental shifts needed to make ‘Enterprising Masses’ a commonplace experience in Scotland:

1. Change Perspectives

Firstly, we must fundamentally change our perspective and see everyone as a potential value creator, regardless of their circumstances, location, or race. This isn’t about charity; it’s about recognising the wealth of talent and resourcefulness that lies untapped in our communities, especially at the bottom of the pyramid. When we shift our focus to include these often-overlooked individuals, we unlock a vast reservoir of innovation and potential.

2. Redefine Entrepreneurship

Secondly, we need a fundamental shift in our view of entrepreneurship by going beyond its mere economic value to one rooted in equality and social justice. The impulse to create is human and universal, yet our current systems and agencies are not designed to foster this equally across all communities and classes. For entrepreneurship to become truly commonplace and accessible to everyone, significant disruption is required. We need a diverse mix of actors and actions to drive this change, ensuring that the entrepreneurial spirit is nurtured across all segments of society.

3. Embrace Communitarian Entrepreneurship

Finally, we need to reconceptualise entrepreneurship as a communitarian activity. In a society increasingly struggling with isolation and loneliness, women coming together to work on entrepreneurial ventures, either individually or collectively, can be a powerful antidote. We have found that when women collaborate on entrepreneurial projects, they not only share resources and skills but also provide mutual support, accountability, and encouragement. This creates networks of care and cooperation, fostering a sense of community and shared purpose.

The ‘entrepreneurship vehicle’ in Scotland risks always facing one direction – away from the masses at the bottom of the pyramid. Not everyone will agree with this perspective, but I believe that Scotland’s future growth story will emerge from this untapped potential. In the words of the inimitable Steve Jobs, we’ve got to “stay hungry, stay foolish.”

As we continue our journey, let’s commit to these shifts, ensuring that ‘Enterprising Masses’ becomes a reality in Scotland. By doing so, we can create a more inclusive, innovative, and vibrant entrepreneurial landscape for all.

~ Noel Mathias, Director and Founder of WEvolution