A TAFE NSW program helped a Manly Vale woman grow her business.

Founder of Eco Interiors Sarah Bos (main image) wanted to turn her passion for fabrics and design into an environmentally sustainable soft furnishings enterprise.

Ms Bos needed to learn how to expand and manage her business, that diverts remnant and off-cut materials away from landfill to create bespoke cushion covers and other interior design offerings.

She already had advanced sewing and design skills, but needed more knowledge to grow her business, turning to a TAFE NSW program ‘Women in Business’ for information on taxation, search engine optimisation, digital marketing, record keeping and more.

“The free webinars were brilliantly helpful in my startup phase, giving me a lot of knowledge, including a recent session on the GST (Goods and Services Tax), which was the most clear and concise explanation of the GST anyone has ever given me.

“I also really loved the supportive network on the Tafe NSW – Women in Business Facebook page. When I’ve asked questions, I’ve found helpful answers and I love the small motivational posts — sometimes they are just what you need to hear,” shared Ms Bos.

TAFE support for women

TAFE Digital General Manager Lyn Rickard said thousands of women had turned to the Women in Business program, which is available online 24/7.

“With a third of Australian small businesses now headed up by women, Women in Business is designed to provide women in every corner of NSW with access to fee-free online training on how to start or build a business.

“TAFE NSW research tells us that women starting a new business face some common challenges, such as not knowing how to get started, finding funding sources, or managing their work-life balance.

“Depending on what point women are at with their business, they can choose from dozens of topics in the TAFE NSW Women in Business program to suit their needs and get the practical, in-demand skills to succeed,” said Ms Rickard.

TAFE support for women

As a business operator passionate about sustainability, Sarah Bos also found free training on carbon neutrality particularly helpful.

She is now designing and sewing cushion covers with an eye on growing her base of customers who want handmade goods designed to order, with the benefit of knowing their purchases are produced in an environmentally friendly way.

“I love that there is such a wealth of topics covered in the program and I can see as the business grows, I will call on Women in Business more and more to build my knowledge and support base.

“I’d definitely recommend it to any other women starting out in business — it’s a great way to learn and get support and advice from supportive, like-minded women,” praised Ms Bos.

The Women in Business program is a NSW Government and TAFE NSW initiative that offers a subsidised online program for women seeking to establish a small business, or who are seeking additional skills to manage an existing business. More information is available at the TAFE NSW website.

Images: TAFE NSW

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