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Government helps military wives on the entrepreneurial ladder

£250,000 funding supports Swindon and Wiltshire’s Regional Growth Network to help women set up their own businesses.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Jo Swinson visits Castledown Enterprise Centre, Wiltshire

Funding from Swindon and Wiltshire’s Regional Growth Network – which received £250,000 from the Government Equalities Office – has been helping women to start and grow their own businesses.

Minister for Women and Equalities, Jo Swinson today met some of the entrepreneurial military wives and other local women who had benefited from the funding.

The minister also toured the new Enterprise Centre in Ludgershall, which is helping support military personnel and their wives kick start new enterprising initiatives by providing start-up space, on-site support, fast broadband connectivity and access to rural community grants.

Jo Swinson said:

Encouraging entrepreneurship is vital to building a stronger economy and we want to see more women setting up their own businesses. But we know living in a rural area can present specific challenges and prevent budding entrepreneurs from getting ahead.

To help turn business dreams into reality, the Government Equalities Office has provided a £1.6 million fund to support women’s enterprise in rural areas, with nearly £250,000 going to Wiltshire.

It’s great to be able to see how women are benefiting from this support. I’m sure they will be a real inspiration for other aspiring businesswomen.

One of the women to benefit from the funding is Kristen Smith, a military wife, who has built up a highly successful specialist healthcare recruitment consultancy, Staff Medical Ltd. Kirsten said:

Even with inevitable childcare challenges, one of the best things about being your own boss is that you set the rules; you create your own dreams. Of course, running your own business means a lot of juggling and spinning of plates – and it’s certainly not 9 ‘til 5, but it’s hugely satisfying.

There is a lot of help in Wiltshire and because my business is based online – it means I can work anywhere and at any time. It’s the ultimate in flexible working.

My advice would be for military wives who have a great business idea to make the most of the support and help available through The Enterprise Network in Wiltshire and Swindon. There’s really nothing to lose in taking your idea to the next stage.

To give women the tools they need to succeed the government is also providing a range of other support, including access to over 150,000 business mentors and better online help and support from the Women’s Business Council.

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Published 4 October 2013