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The business community was buzzing with excitement on Friday 19th March, thanks to the opening of the hotly anticipated Peterborough Women’s Enterprise Centre. The centre, which is the second of its kind in the UK is located on Bridge Street and was created to help female entrepreneurs in the Peterborough area succeed in their business ventures.
The vibrant opening was attended by over 80 guests including the Mayor of Peterborough councillor Irene Walsh, who welcomed the audience, Peterborough City Council’s leader Marco Cereste, Rachel Bosworth, Deputy Chief
Executive of the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) and MP for Peterborough, Stewart Jackson, who unveiled the plaque.
Although the centre only opened its doors to Peterborough’s flourishing community of female entrepreneurs less than two weeks ago, they have been running courses since January. However this didn’t detract from the excitement of the grand opening, Centre Manager Georgette Roucefield said;
‘We’ve been working alongside the council all the way, and are delighted that all our hard work has come to fruition. Whilst the centre has been refurbished, we have already assisted more than 100 businesses and helped nearly 50 women to develop their skills since the beginning of January.’
One of the women the centre has provided a lot of help for is Parveen Ashraf, founder of a catering and events company Amaani Creations Ltd. Parveen specialises in catering and designing art pieces and recipes for events and with the help of the enterprise centre, she recently showcased her Amaani Spice Box on the Ideal World shopping channel.
Being at such a crucial stage of her venture, Parveen said the centre have really helped her to take the next step in the right direction: ‘I’m at that point where I’m in business and at the brink of something and I need guidance, which I get from the course I’m doing at the centre in growing a business.’
It’s clear that Parveen doesn’t just benefit from the courses on offer but also the support network; ‘it’s a home from home, they’re like a family’, she said. ‘They’ve really boosted my confidence, last year I was on the verge of giving up but the centre provided the perfect place for networking, allowing me to meet people who could back me up in my business.’
She added: ‘The centre provides that social aspect of work, which you can miss out on when you’re going it alone. They give me a lot of support and I strongly believe that it is going to be a thriving place of business for women in Peterborough.’
Peterborough Women’s Enterprise Centre, which offers advice and training on all aspects of setting up a business, is managed by the consultancy company YTKO, supported by Enterprising Women and funded by EEDA and Peterborough City Council. Female entrepreneurs will enjoy access to a café, a Wi-Fi enabled computer, a training room, a hot desking area, mailbox facilities and a wardrobe exchange, providing smart clothing for attending interviews or business meetings.
Finally, Georgette said: We’re really looking forward to helping many more women unlock their potential, and to help make the city centre a dynamic and successful business hub.