A project supporting local women has been given the seal of approval after a visit from a Government minister. Led by the East Sussex County Council broadband team, the Swift project offers a bespoke digital and business skills training programme that helps them develop the skills and knowledge needed to set up and run business ventures. It also enables participants to take full advantage of the upgraded broadband infrastructure currently being rolled out across the county.
Late last month Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, visited County Hall in Lewes to find out more about the initiative and meet trainers and course participants. The county council was one of only 16 authorities nationally to secure funding, worth £75,000, from the Government Equalities Office and is working in co-operation with local charity Sound Architect and network organisation MD Hub.
The project seeks to address low job density, improve entrepreneurship and self-employment among women, all of which contributes to economic growth and wealth creation.
Javid said: “An additional 28,000 East Sussex homes and businesses can now access superfast speeds as a result of our investment, and we’re reaching more and more people every week. The Government’s women and broadband programme is designed to help women develop the skills and confidence to use superfast broadband to expand or set-up new businesses, and I’m delighted to see workshops such as this one helping these ventures to prosper in our new superfast environment.”
The programme includes sessions on creating a business plan, marketing, managing cash flow, time management, presentation skills, IT, social media, web/graphic design, and e-commerce. Participants attend regular peer-to-peer groups to share knowledge and experience with the support of a business mentor.
Katy Thomas, the county council’s broadband programme lead, said: “Not only will it give them the skills and knowledge they need, but also the confidence to take the plunge by working alongside like-minded women through a sustainable skills development programme, contributing strongly to economic growth in East Sussex.”
Cllr Rupert Simmons added: “In East Sussex, we believe that around £295 million can be generated over the next 10 years through better access to improved broadband and we are keen to support our communities to successfully start and grow their own businesses.”
For more information visit the Swift project.
Source: East Sussex County Council