Entries have opened for this year's Women’s Enterprise Scotland Awards, recognising the £8.8 billion contribution of female-led businesses to the country's economy.

The awards are organised by the not-for-profit Women's Enterprise Scotland (WES), which was set up 11 years ago to close the gender gap by campaigning for female-specific assistance across the network of support for start-up businesses. Net Zero Business of the Year, Resilient Business of the Year, Business to Watch, and Inspiring Leader of the Year are among the award categories.

"The cost of business crisis, following so closely after the Covid-19 pandemic, has placed many businesses under more pressure than ever and it is vital that we put the considerable achievements and the resilience of our women business leaders in the spotlight as they continue to innovate and push forward,” WES chief executive Carolyn Currie said.

READ MORE: Female-led businesses in Scotland have been 'hit harder' by Covid-19

According to the Federation of Small Businesses, women-owned firms contribute £8.8bn of gross value add (GVA) to the Scottish economy and have created over 230,000 jobs. This is more than the GVA of the sustainable tourism (£2.5bn), food and drink (£5.4bn), and creative industries (£4.6bn) estimated by the Scottish Government​.

In addition, the recent Rose Review Progress Report noted that female founders in the UK started more firms in 2022 than ever before. The latest figure of 150,000 new start-ups led by women was more than double that of 2018.

Notable highlights from last year’s awards include Greenock-based Poonam Gupta of PG Paper Company, who took the Inspiring Leader award, while Anna White's ScotlandShop was named Growth Business  of the Year. Ergo Law, co-founded by Emma Reid and Cathy Donald, took the award for Outstanding Business of the Year.

The deadline for entries is August 18, with the awards ceremony taking place at the voco Grand Central Hotel Glasgow on October 26.