swift logo with strapline


The Swift Project takes off

By brighton1973, Jan 28 2015 10:56AM

“There has never been a greater need or time for women to start and run a business” said Becky Shaw, Chief Executive of East Sussex County Council (ESCC) at the launch of the Swift Project on Wednesday 1st October in Robertsbridge.

The project, funded by the Government Equalities Office and run in partnership by ESCC and local charity, Sound Architect, supports self-employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for women by enhancing their digital skills and enabling them to take advantage of the faster and more reliable broadband that ESCC are putting in place, particularly in rural areas.

Well over 40 women have signed up to access the part-time training and support delivered in collaboration with MD Hub, a peer to peer business growth network for Managing Directors, between October and March 2015. Those involved come from varied backgrounds with some already running established businesses and some who have a germ of an idea but want some help and advice to get started. Becky Shaw explained, “Nationally, there could be an extra one million female entrepreneurs if women started businesses at the same rate as men. Locally, of those in self-employment, only 13,200 are women, compared to 37,000 men, which is well below the national average. In East Sussex, we think that around £295m can be generated over the next 10 years through better access to and use of improved broadband and that’s why we are absolutely committed to business growth through investment in business essential infrastructure.”

The launch event included an opportunity to hear from an inspirational woman already running a successful business in the County. Marian Harding of Court Lodge Organics explained how she had set up her organic pouring yoghurt business in 2001 and now employed a small team of people and supplied big household names like Waitrose and Able and Cole.Funded by the Government Equalities Office 2

The ethos of the Swift project was summed up at the event by Rachel Lewis, Chief Executive of Sound Architect who said, “We want to equip women with the skills and confidence they need to make an important contribution to the economy and become mentors to others by sharing their knowledge.”

Twitter: @swiftproject1

For further information please contact Ruth Maddison on 01825 891094 or 07508 277371

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