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Anne Snelgrove
MP Anne Snelgrove with a keen entrepreneur and staff from the Small Business Hub at Oakfield

Press Release - 12 October 2005

Swindon MP praises female entrepreneurs

Swindon South MP Anne Snelgrove urged budding women entrepreneurs to be ambitious and brave during a visit to the University of Bath in Swindon’s Oakfield campus.

The MP recalled her own mother’s struggle to combine a busy family life with running a business from home and told women on the University’s Women into Enterprise course she was delighted to see enterprising women being given the support and training at the Oakfield campus to enable them to work for themselves.

“My background is I’m from a council estate with a mother who worked nights while my father worked days,” she said.

“They decided that just wasn’t feasible with children, and with help from the local development corporation my mother set up a catering business. It gave me and my brother a really stable base but also meant there was money coming into the home. They were ambitious, and you mustn’t be ashamed of being brave and ambitious for yourselves and your families. I want to stand up in the House of Commons and quote your success.”

Ms Snelgrove said she was delighted that the University is reaching out to local women, and that increasing representation of women in business and in parliament should be a priority in this country.

“Men find it hard to relinquish power and many still see women in a very traditional role, so it’s fantastic to know that this scheme is here for you,” she said.

“It’s so brilliant that the University is in partnership with the community and I’m thrilled that the University of Bath in Swindon is here, doing this.”

Amar Basra, project officer for Women in Enterprise, said:

“The women really appreciated exchanging experiences with Anne. It’s so clear that many face resistance to pursuing their business ideas and eventually lose confidence in their abilities if they don’t have a network of support. There was a great buzz while she was here and she’s an excellent and empowering role model.”

The University of Bath in Swindon has been running Women into Enterprise since October 2004, and in 12 months more than 120 women have joined the scheme to learn about starting their own companies from scratch.

The University works with other partners, such as Business Link Berkshire and Wiltshire, to provide women with the skills and advice essential to starting and maintaining successful businesses. There is a crèche on site, which is run by Swindon Child Carers in conjunction with the uUniversity, to make it easier for women with young children to take part in the scheme.

The Women into Enterprise project is part of the University’s widening participation programme and was set up with a grant from the European Social Fund.

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