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30 April 2024

Skills Programme Backs More than 2,500 Women Looking to Start their Own Business

More than 2,500 women have received backing from a programme designed to support those looking to go freelance or bring their start-up idea to life.

The University of South Wales (USW) is celebrating the third anniversary of its Developing Entrepreneurial Women Programme, a fully-funded series of masterclasses and events delivered in partnership with NatWest Cymru.

The programme, which is now run by USW’s Startup Stiwdio – a dedicated incubator space for new businesses – is part of the university’s commitment to enabling greater numbers of women and non-binary people in the Cardiff Capital Region to become their own boss.

It aims to address barriers to female entrepreneurship including confidence, agency and efficacy, self-esteem and resilience.

As part of the programme there is access to a business development programme as well as coaching sessions which operate in smaller cohorts that help to build a sustainable support community while also addressing practical barriers to trading.

The programme, which involves eight individual sessions which build upon each other, has been delivered by visual artist and facilitator Prith Biant, who has been has been running her own business for more than 15 years. Prith is also an alumni of USW after studying for her MBA.

In the three years since the programme started there have been 2,597 interactions with potential participants, with just under a third of those actively engaging with the support on offer.

As a result, there have been almost 40 businesses started or women supported to become self-employed, 23 of the participants have engaged in start-up coaching, and 20 received support to appear at the FSB Wales Conference.

Further benefits of being involved in the programme have included expert-led masterclasses and networking sessions led by 38 inspirational female-founders, while 30 participants have received the additional business coaching and professional development sessions.

A celebration showcase is set to be held at USW’s Newport Campus to mark the third anniversary of the programme. It will include Kellie Beirne, Director of the Cardiff Capital Region programme; Caroline Thompson, Regional Enterprise Director for NatWest; Rachel Ashley of Women Angels of Wales and Carol Hall  of the Development Bank of Wales.

Richie Turner, Manager of USW’s Stiwdio Entrepreneurship programmes, said:

“We are excited to be able to continue this vital startup business programme for women based in South Wales through the team at Startup Stiwdio, and with continued support from NatWest.

“To be able to reach so many women across the communities in South Wales demonstrates our commitment to helping our regional economy grow.  Startup businesses are the key driving force for both economic and social change in our society. I congratulate all those who have taken part, and especially those women who have gone on to start their own businesses.”

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