Related Links

Claire Hornshaw
Press Office
07966 341 431

» submit an item · an event

Marie Jones, a Women into Enterprise student, now runs a successful business making party bags
Marie Jones, a Women into Enterprise student, now runs a successful business making party bags

Press Release - 16 January 2006

Swindon initiative wins highest rating for helping women entrepreneurs

A local initiative offering free support and training to local businesses and entrepreneurs has become the first organisation in the South West to receive a Flagship award for its support of female entrepreneurs.

The Small Business Hub, part of the University of Bath in Swindon, launched its Women into Enterprise and Entrepreneurs South West projects in 2004. Both projects are partly funded by the European Social Fund.

Women into Enterprise provides training and networking opportunities to women who are interested in starting up their own business, and offers support including idea generation, marketing and financial planning. Local business partners such as Business Link and the Inland Revenue deliver on site one-to-one appointments. Participants in the project are also offered access to a mentor.

Entrepreneurs South West runs frequent business workshops and seminars for small business owners and employees covering a whole range of business topics and issues.

The award recognises the Small Business Hub’s success in delivering a ‘Flagship’ level of service – the highest rating – to women looking to start their own business. The award is given by Prowess, the UK-wide association working for equal numbers of women and men starting and growing businesses.

Assistant Director of the Small Business Hub, Marc Braddock, said: “Our success shows that Swindon is home to lots of budding female entrepreneurs. We’ve already seen the launch of a range of small businesses, from party bags to garden design, and have been the starting point for women who want a change of career.

“The award recognises that we meet the needs of local women. Prowess was particularly impressed by the delivery of our programmes, which are designed to be accessible to as many people as possible, and the crèche facilities we provide as part of our free service.”

Prowess assessed the scheme on quality, client focus, inclusion and equality in the provision of services. In achieving ‘Flagship’ status the Small Business Hub has been recognised as achieving the highest levels of support in each of these areas.

In early January the Small Business Hub announced it has been awarded European Social Funding for projects with a total value of £750,000. The projects, to be launched in 2006, will be a development of the Women into Enterprise programme, a Leadership and Management programme, and a Coaching and Mentoring programme.

The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: