During the debate, Ms Harper noted that Scotland’s business landscape is changing, and that evidence suggested women are playing a significant role in shaping its future.
She revealed the size of the economy would increase by around five percent – equating to £7.6bn – if the level of business ownership by women matched the level of male business ownership.
Ms Harper paid tribute to the inspirational women who are excelling in business, particularly small business, and reported south Scotland has been identified as an ‘entrepreneurship hotspot’ for women in new analysis from the Federation of Small Businesses.
She said: “Women play an invaluable contribution to Scotland’s business sector and I was pleased to highlight the many fantastic women in business across Dumfries and Galloway.
"This includes Roan’s Dairy in Barnbarroch – led by Aylet Roan and Tracey Roan – a business which has gone from strength to strength providing milk to people across south Scotland, employing local workers, and trading at agricultural shows.
"I also mentioned Wilma Finlay of The Ethical Dairy in Castle Douglas, which produces sought-after cheeses and ice cream, Joanna Heard from the Galloway Soup Company, who developed a successful café and shop in Dalbeattie from her original farmers market stall, and Lynne Atkinson from the Whitehouse Gallery in Kirkcudbright.”