Nicola Sturgeon has announced £100,000 of new funding to help boost a mentoring scheme for women in business across Scotland.
The cash will go to the Future Female Business Leader programme run by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce and the Scottish Association of Business Women.
The scheme matches up women entrepreneurs with established female business mentors, assisting women as they moving into leadership roles.
Part of the initiative aims to stimulate the “internationalisation” of Scottish business, the Scottish Government said.
Speaking at the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Women in Business lunch, the First Minister said the scheme will “help some of the next generation of women business leaders as they start their careers”.
She said: “Helping more women to set up and succeed in business is both an economic and a moral imperative.
“By encouraging and supporting women to create and grow businesses, we can create greater equality which in turn builds a stronger and fairer economy.”
The Scottish Chambers of Commerce has a pool of more than 1,000 mentors across Scotland.
The organisation’s chief executive, Liz Cameron, said: “It is an economic priority to ensure that we create an infrastructure which will unlock the outstanding opportunities which exist for females in the workplace enabling more of us to progress to the very top.
“It will also be a beacon for others to follow, and at the same time, increase the number of successful businesses run by women to grow and expand their businesses.
“Mentoring will be integral to our focus, but it will be in wider terms of bringing together business leaders and other organisations who want to play a role in this development.
“We are also excited at bringing in an international dimension, identifying potentially new connections and new orders.”