Helping young people change their lives through entrepreneurship

HIWCF has partnered with SWEF to deliver a brand new initiative supporting young people aged 18-30 years who face barriers to investing in their business such as a low income background or other financial challenges.

SWEF was founded to help unlock potential in young entrepreneurs across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

HIWCF is proud to support SWEF’s vision to help young people build a brighter future by starting or growing a business and is helping to deliver business grants of up to £2,000 to young people to help turn their business ideas into a reality.


Katie Sharp, Grants Manager of SWEF, says:



“We launched SWEF after realising that although there is a lot of support and advice for young people trying to launch their first venture, there is virtually nowhere to get the cash injection they often need.



“The key criteria we look for are initiative and a strong work ethic. We want to help young people change their lives through entrepreneurship. We ask to see a business plan and interview applicants about their plans and ambitions – we want to see them thinking strategically about their business.”



These business grants can be used for equipment, materials, product development, stock, one-off costs or other services to take their business to the next level.



Grantees have the added opportunity to join a business forum where they can exchange ideas, experiences and questions with other grant recipients.


First SWEF grant in Hampshire aims to keep custom camper van kit competing in the European market

In the same month of launching the SWEF programme, HIWCF was able to make its first grant to Colehill Customs, a small business in Totton producing high quality, custom kit for camper vans.

Isaac Venn, one of the business owners, told us about his aspirations:

"Both me and my business partner previously worked in jobs where management demanded long hours with little reward whilst promoting unhealthy work habits. When we spotted a gap in the market in an industry we both feel passionate about, we were prompted to venture out on our own.

"We have a strong work ethic, a drive to succeed and we are determined to produce the highest quality product in the European market. However, we desperately need to upgrade our equipment to reach these standards and have been struggling to find a suitable loan. With this money, we can invest in generating high quality products, which should allow us to expand and reach the next level in our business plan. We want to be self funded and secure a regular source of income, so this grant has come at the perfect time."

Colehill Customs funded by SWEF
Colehill Customs pictured with one of their custom designs