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TAFE NSW helps female business owners overcome financial hurdles

TAFE NSW Wollongong

TAFE NSW helps female business owners overcome financial hurdles

Photo by Tilly Clifford

A TAFE NSW program dedicated to empowering female entrepreneurs is helping to address the financial hurdles faced by businesswomen across the state.

It comes as a survey from the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s (ASBFEO) office reveals access to capital is still a significant hurdle affecting women-led small businesses, with 43% of respondents identifying access to capital as a central barrier to growth.

The TAFE NSW Women in Business program offers fee-free online learning for women running small businesses, micro-businesses, or start-ups. Among the practical business skills offered, the program covers a host of financial topics, including ‘financial literacy 101’, ‘grants and support programs’, and ‘cash flow – know your numbers’.

TAFE NSW Executive Director Education and Skills – Digital, Lyn Rickard said the Women in Business program is providing accessible education and resources to female business owners to help remove the financial barriers to their success.

“The Women in Business program’s focus on financial literacy equips women with the skills they need to succeed, while also helping bridge the gender gap when it comes to financing a small business or start-up,” Ms Rickard said.

“There are many hurdles to overcome when running a small business, particularly in today’s economic climate, which is why we’re providing business owners with the tools they need to navigate not just the operational challenges, but the financial ones as well.”

“By arming female business owners with essential financial skills and knowledge, we are helping them make their business a success, while fostering a more diverse and equitable business landscape for all.”

Wollongong business owner Kate Gilbert participated in the TAFE NSW Women in Business program, having started event company Glamp & Gather just before the pandemic shut the industry down.

She says keeping herself educated is what kept the business afloat.

“Many people think when you start a business you have to go into debt. After studying the Grants and Support Programs subject, I was successful in several applications, which made a huge difference,” she said.

“This program showed me business owners are not in this alone – there is a whole world of resources and networking out there we can tap into for support.”

“I encourage people to set time aside to stay up to date, learn more about what’s out there and generate fresh ideas. It’s how I stay engaged with my business and maintain my passion for what I do.”

Kate has 19-month-old twin girls – and says owning her own business has meant she can slow things down to focus on motherhood – knowing she can increase events again, when she is ready.

“Research shows us that women are still primary care givers. I’ve really appreciated being able to take on less during this important time for my family. It’s important that female business owners feel supported and can structure their business in a way that provides a level of flexibility.”

To celebrate Small Business Month, TAFE NSW Women in Business is hosting an online event on Wednesday 25 October 2023 for women wishing to start up or grow their own business.

The session, which features representatives from Women NSW and Service NSW, will cover how to access finance and grants and access mentoring, support, and training. Registration is available here:


Media contact: Lauren McAllister, Communications Specialist,, 02 7920 5000.