RAISE – Raising Aspirations, Inspiring Self-Employment and Social Enterprise

European Union European Regional Development Fund

Access to Business, Wolverhampton based Charity is the Lead partner on the joint project with SWEDA (Skills Work and Enterprise Development Agency), Charity based in Sandwell –  ‘RAISE – Raising Aspirations, Inspiring Self-Employment and Social Enterprise’.  The 2016-2018 project delivers support to entrepreneurs in the Black Country to set up and run their businesses, specifically targeting new and early stage entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups including women, BME communities and disabled people. The project has received 50% of its funding  to the value of £644,310 from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.


Work meeting


By reducing barriers to business/social enterprise start-up and self-employment RAISE aims to enable local entrepreneurs to thrive; injecting enterprise into the grass roots of local communities and supporting employment growth across our region.

By the end of the project we will support over 900 potential entrepreneurs and 318 new and  existing businesses to develop and grow their enterprises creating over 30 new jobs.

Access to Business and SWEDA deliver business workshops, business networking, events and Business Club drop-in sessions in the Black Country.  RAISE qualified advisors provide individually tailored advice and support to enable entrepreneurs and business owners to achieve business goals, overcome challenges and turn their business into a bigger success.

Access to Business provide weekly surgeries and business workshops in the Scotland and Low Hill areas which are deprived areas of Wolverhampton. Business advisers have embraced the opportunity to play an active role within the local community which has included working with clients both within Low Hill Community Centre, The Scotlands Big Venture Centre and also The Information House.

Client feedback – “I am so glad I made the decision after considering it for so long. I am now in control of my own destiny and can fit my work around my family life which is more flexible than before. Our quality of life is now great. This is an excellent project for people considering self employment. It encouraged and motivated me, helping to understand, limit risks and find ways around perceived challenges.”

Access to Business and SWEDA worked in partnership with other ERDF providers including Wolverhampton Business Solutions Centre/Black Country Growth Hub, Black Country Council’s Enterprise Teams, Princes Trust and Wolverhampton University through the ERDF Black Country Enterprise Teams (BET) partnership.

Access to Business received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2017.

Wolverhampton City Council selected Access to Business to raise the awareness of self-employment to the Wolverhampton community as part of the Wolverhampton Residents Fortnight in March 2018. The event organised and promoted by Access to Business on 22/03/2018 was held at the Molineux Stadium Wolverhampton with 30 exhibition stand holders on hand promoting business support. In addition businesses that had previously received business support from Access to Business were given to opportunity to display their offerings. The event was a big success attracting over 200 attendees.

We are proud of the achievements of our RAISE Client, Wellington whose story was covered in various media, for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDzi098Fon8

And also recently in the Express &Star:


If you are thinking of becoming self-employed and or already have an existing businesses but need support to develop and grow, contact Access to Business on 01902 572397 or SWEDA on 0121 525 2558 to access our support programmes. If you wish to find out more about services available sign up for one of our Self Employment Information sessions which run weekly at both organisations.

Check our updates and workshops/events schedule on www.access2business.co.ukor www.sweda.org.uk/events


European Regional Development Fund

The project is receiving up to £644,310 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.






























Contact Information

Josie Kelly / Elvira Wilson

Access to Business

The Curve, 81 Tempest Street, Wolverhampton.

Tel 01902 572397

Davinder Kaur

SWEDA, The Business Centre, Church Street, West Bromwich, B70 8RP

Tel: 0121 525 2558

Investing in Your Future 

...Supported By


European Union European Regional Development Fund                   European Union European Social Fund    Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council              Walsall Council


Wolverhamptom City Council                                        Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council                       This website is part funded by:               European Union Investing In Your Future European Regional Development Fund 2007-13