New investment has been announced for women entrepreneurs in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire to help start or grow their businesses by improving digital skills.
Funding from the Government Equalities Office has been awarded to Fastershire as the partnership between Herefordshire and Gloucestershire to deliver faster broadband to rural areas in the two counties. As one of 16 successful bids to the ‘Women and Broadband’ fund, the investment will help women make the most of using digital technology and the internet in business.
Starting in September, the ‘Faster Women’ project will offer free workshops and training on topics such as using social media in business, cloud computing and selling online, as well as one-to-one business advice sessions, and funding to attend conferences or to access other types of business support.
The funding was awarded on the back of a successful project last year that worked with over 270 women providing training and advice on using the internet and IT in business. Fiona Bailey, proprietor of Upper Park Cattery in Llangarron, who attended several workshops as part of the earlier Faster Women project, said:-
‘The workshops were a great way to get an overview of how I should be using our current website and also what I should be thinking about when setting up our new online store. I’m sure that everyone who attends a workshop will be able to take away at least one thing that will make an improvement to their practices, no matter how much experience they already have. They were really good, I would recommend them!’
Jane Raven, who runs Myrtles Kitchen near Bromyard, which provides chef cover for local cafes and restaurants and sells home-cooked products, attended previous Faster Women training and said:-
‘I’m delighted to hear that thanks to this funding the Faster Women training and support can continue. Having been out of the workplace for a while, the workshops I attended gave me the confidence to carry on and grow my business using all the social media tools available, as well as being a way to meet other women in the same position as me. This is an excellent opportunity that I’d encourage local business women, and women thinking of beginning a business, to get involved with.’
Councillor Graham Powell, Cabinet Champion for broadband, Herefordshire Council said:
‘This successful bid for funding from the Government Equalities Office means we’ll be able to support more Herefordshire women starting-up new businesses and growing existing ones. The project will offer practical help to develop their businesses online and make the most of the benefits the internet and digital technology can bring.’
The funding follows findings from the Women’s Business Council showing that there could be an extra one million female entrepreneurs in the UK if women had the confidence and support to start businesses at the same rate as men. Women and Broadband Fund from the Government Equalities Office invited broadband projects, such as Fastershire, to bid for funding to run projects to help women take full advantage of all the opportunities that superfast broadband can bring to business.
Training and support will be available from September, with details on www.fastershire.com/fasterwomen in due course. In the meantime people can register their interest through the website and they will be notified when details are confirmed.