Entrepreneurs celebrate GHA business grants
Published by Glasgow Housing Association on Mon 25 Jun 12 @ 16:59
Two entrepreneurs have set up their own businesses with a little help from Glasgow Housing Association's tenant reward scheme, Glasgow Gold.
The two fledgling businesses set up by GHA tenants - a beauty salon in Drumchapel and an internet-based design company - are the first to benefit from a £1,000 grant from Glasgow Gold.
And the two businesswomen - Michelle Stevenson and Magda Pietrzak - say the financial support has been a lifeline as they start out in a difficult economic climate.
Any GHA tenant who keeps up to date with their rent is eligible to join Glasgow Gold and get a range of benefits, including the chance to apply for community chest grants up to £500 and education grants up to £500.
More than 100 community groups across the city have been helped in the past year alone, as have dozens of hard-up students.
Now, financial assistance and advice from Glasgow Gold has created opportunities for business growth across the city.
Tenant Michelle Stevenson got help with signage and seating for the waiting area in her 'Belle Vie' beauty salon in Drumchapel.
Michelle, who has only been in business for a few weeks, said: "I'm always looking for help - but there's not much out there.
"Glasgow Gold has been very helpful. Without it I could never have afforded the new sign and the seating. It's a very important scheme for people like me.
"I already have a good customer base so I'm confident the business will be a success."
Tenant Magda Pietrzak, from Sighthill, was able to follow her dream and set up her own cross stitch design company thanks to a Glasgow Gold business start-up grant.
As well as help to buy a computer, Magda valued the advice she was given in setting up her website.
She said: "I had wanted to set up my own business for so long, but never had the time or the money.
"Glasgow Gold provided me with a computer and gave me lots of advice on how to set up and design my website, which should be up and running this month. The advice was invaluable.
"This is my dream - and I couldn't have done it without Glasgow Gold."
Almost 6,000 GHA tenants are members of Glasgow Gold. In the past year, 115 Community Chest grants have been awarded to groups and projects across the city, at a total of £38,000.
A total of 38 education grants totalling £13,000 have also helped students in Glasgow with the costs of travelling and buying text books.
Fanchea Kelly, GHA's Executive Director of Housing and Support Services, said: "At GHA we work hard to increase opportunities for tenants and help them lead better lives.
"Glasgow Gold has been a real bonus for tenants, helping neighbourhood projects, community groups and students all over the city. It's great news that we've now awarded our first start-up grants for entrepreneurs.
"It's not easy setting up your own company in the current climate, and I wish Michelle and Magda the best of luck with their new businesses."