WOMEN who own their own businesses in Helensburgh have been speaking about their experiences as a new survey on what drives them forward.

Business Gateway, Scotland's national business support agency, said 70 per cent of women believed they had what it takes - and that was the main reason they set up their own ventures.

And many cited a confidence in their skills, knowledge and experience as key factors.

Linda Macdonald, of Linda Macdonald Jewellery, agreed that belief in her abilities was vital.

But she said her main factor was starting her own business to pursue a creative career following her qualifications and interests.

The survey said a large number wanted more support tailored to women.

But Ms Macdonald said: "I don’t necessarily think it has to be tailored to women, I have attended many business training events over the years and don’t really think this was an issue for me.

"I think the challenge is how to advertise and communicate to people, that here is funding and support available to assist new businesses. I have encountered many people who don’t realise this until their business is up and running.

"We have felt lucky with our support over the years and have always felt that our local Business Gateway team have been very communicative about opportunities and support.

"In my own experience I started my business very quickly after graduating, so had little financial risk and family reasons as a concern. I can totally understand that trying to start a business after having children and financial commitments would present increased barriers."

But Edit Makai-Mckechnie, who runs Yi Jin Jing exercise classes as Stayinform, said she didn't have support from the business agency.

She told the Advertiser: "I agree with what says and mentions but unfortunately concerning my own business progress, I had asked the Business Gateway for help or advice but the meeting I had with them was little help to me or my business.

"The only advice they were able to give I already knew, I ended up having to struggle through setting up the business and try my best to keep it going.

"I was unfortunate that Covid hit only a few months after starting my business , so for the last few years I have not made any profit at all, i am hoping that now that things seem to be easing off concerning covid, things may start to pickup.

"I did hope for more help or support from business gateway, but apart from the meeting I had when I was planning the business, I have had been contacted twice by them, once at the beginning of covid19 regarding to do online classes,and now.

"Most support I found by myself through find Business Support Scotland, which was amazing."

Gillian Timmons, of Business Gateway, said starting a business was daunting, but the survey found a positive picture in Scotland.

She said: "It is extremely positive to see so many women starting their own business because they believe in the strength of their expertise and skillset.

"Female-led start-ups account for 48 per cent of the start-ups we support and provide a critical contribution to the Scottish economy which will be vital as the country continues to recover from the pandemic.

“We know that funding is a crucial factor for people who want to start their own business. With connections across Scotland’s support network, our advisers are extremely knowledgeable about what finance options are available and suitable for start-ups, whether this is a loan or grant funding.

"We would encourage everyone in this position to contact their local office and see what is right for them."

Ms Macdonald said there were reasons for women in Helensburgh to start their own businesses. She said it was very rewarding and fulfilling, it was a varied job, and offered a better work-life balance.,

She added: "If you have the right support to get going, running your own business can provide the perfect career around family life."