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Tessa Webb
Tessa Webb

Press Release - 26 June 2007

Business award for artistic entrepreneur

A student of the University of Bath in Swindon’s Women into Enterprise scheme has won top prize in a local competition for businesswomen.

Tessa Webb, from Siddington near Cirencester, received the Swindon Businesswomen’s Breakfast Club Make it Happen Award for her enterprising idea to teach business skills to artists.

Two other students of the scheme, both from Swindon, are runners up in the awards: Suzanne Daykin for her website giving ideas for affordable weddings; and Rebecca McKenzie for her children's party business (see Related Links).

Tessa will teach her unique business skills course to art students at the University of the West of England, equipping them with the basic business know-how needed to become a successful self-employed artist.

For 12 years Tessa has run her own company, Colour in the Cotswolds, which offers art courses to develop drawing and painting skills taught by her husband, the artist Richard Kenton Webb, from their Gloucestershire home.

The new venture enables her to pull together her knowledge of the art world with her business skills and experience from a successful marketing career in the arts, publishing and charity sectors.

“The Women into Enterprise course has transformed my life,” said Tessa Webb. “When I started, I wasn’t sure where I was going or what I was going to do next but the course helped me to focus, get my plans together and have the confidence to start something new.

“It brought everything together for me in a very real way and made me realise that my own experiences in business and my knowledge of the art world stood me in very good stead for helping artists to run their own businesses.

“Artists are often left with their heads in the clouds and no real understanding of what it takes to be self-employed.

“I’m hoping to give them the business skills they need to reach their goals and achieve their full potential.

“I’m very thankful to my course tutor and everyone at the Business Hub who taught me so much and gave me such great support. I’m also very honoured that the Swindon Businesswomen's Breakfast Club has given me this chance and their recognition of my future plans gives me the momentum to move forward.”

The award includes funding for Tessa to undertake a Certificate in Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector at Swindon New College. She also wins a year’s free membership of the Swindon Businesswomen’s Breakfast Club, plus a mentor to work with her on her new venture.

Tessa will be awarded a new Make it Happen trophy designed by jeweller Caroline Waldron, winner of last year’s award and a former Women into Enterprise student.

As part of her vision to help artists achieve their goals, Tessa is launching an open studios programme for artists in and around Cirencester.

“Cirencester has a long-standing tradition of arts and crafts going back to the nineteenth century,” said Tessa. “The re-development of The Brewery Arts as a place of craft excellence will open up many new opportunities for our community. Over the last few years, many artists have been moving to Gloucestershire. This is a very exciting time.”

The Women into Enterprise scheme is a training course and programme of support for women from Swindon, Wiltshire, and neighbouring parts of Gloucestershire who want to start their own business. Run by the University’s Business Hub, it offers advice, training and guidance, plus a crèche.

For an informal chat about the training scheme, women are invited to contact the Business Hub on 01793 328776, see the Related Links section or find out more at an open day event on 21 July. The next scheme starts in September and runs through to July 2008, with weekly morning or evening sessions.

The Swindon Businesswomen’s Breakfast Club consists of members from across the commercial spectrum. Members have the opportunity to network, exchange views and listen to speakers on a wide range of topics, both business and community related. For further information please contact SBBC Chairwoman, Nicky Borman on

Artists in and around Cirencester who are interested in opening their studios to the public for one to two weeks each year should contact Tessa on 01285 651790.

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