(l-r) Coffee Republic Founder Sahar Hashemi OBE, Centurion VAT Specialists Director Liz Maher, STTEPS Director Sally Milton, Taksforce Skirmish Paintball Founder and Director Annette Gee

CAVC hosts Gazelle female entrepreneurship event

10 December 2014

Cardiff and Vale College hosts Gazelle event to encourage female entrepreneurship

Cardiff and Vale College as a member of the Gazelle Colleges Group hosted an event designed to inspire and raise aspirations for its female students.

The event was organised as part of CAVC’s commitment to support entrepreneurial aspiration among all of its students. Four leading female entrepreneurs came to the College to talk about their varied experiences setting up in business and to encourage students to follow their example.

They included Coffee Republic founder Sahar Hashemi OBE, who spoke about how she developed her £30million a year business, the challenges she faced and her hopes for the future of women at work. Students and staff, and local community and business leaders came together to discuss  that enterprise and entrepreneurship are real options for all female students. Lead by Bea Appleby of the What I See Project, the female leadership programme was part of a series of sessions being held across the country to support and encourage more young women to consider a career in business. Liz Maher,

VAT Director at Centurion VAT Specialists, was one of the speakers. She said: “I became involved in the discussion to support the development of a talent pool of students to embark upon self-employment, innovation and creating opportunity.

“The majority of the active enterprises in Wales are now small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s) which now make up 99.3% of all businesses in Wales, figures show small firms leading the way while large companies are yet to reach pre-recession employment levels in Wales so I was pleased to be part of the discussion to give these young women a view to becoming a future SME owner themselves.”

Annette Gee, Managing Director and Founder of Taskforce Skirmish Paintball, added: “I am passionate about Entrepreneurship and supporting and inspiring young people to think about self-employment as an achievable progression.”

Another of the speakers, Sally Milton, Director STTEPS – a housing organisation for vulnerable people – said: “I believe that it is essential that education not only focuses on qualification but develops life skills, supporting students in developing confidence, positive attitudes and aptitudes for the world of work.  Supporting the development of aspiration is an essential skill for our future economic growth and opportunities.”

The event proved an inspiration for students. Beauty Therapy student Chloe Isgrove said: “I loved listening to the women who came in to talk about their achievements and experiences in business. It has given me the confidence in myself and belief in what I want to achieve in my future.”

Fellow Beauty Therapy student Charlotte Ballantine said: “I enjoyed hearing each entrepreneur’s personal story and how they reached their goals.”

“The event helped me to think about things and prepare me for the working industry,” student Jasmine Roberts added.

The event was organised through the College’s membership of the Gazelle Group. The Gazelle Colleges Group aims to transform further education, developing new commercial learning models and innovative partnerships with business, to equip students with the skills to be creative, confident and resilient in the workplace.