Helping tackle racism – how graduate Chantal’s fledgling business is taking off

The Young Women’s Network was set up by MA Radio student Chantal Herbert 

A YOUNG woman’s desire to improve people’s understanding of sexism and racism has led to her using her skills as a radio presenter to launch her own business.

Chantal Herbert, 37, from Newcastle, graduates from MA Radio from the University of Sunderland later this year with a fledgling business that is already having a big impact.

“Throughout my two years at University I have gained so many skills and network opportunities I decided to start my own business,” said Chantal.  “I set the business up because of the lack of opportunities for women in the creative sector, and I hope to bridge that gap in some small way.”

Now, Chantal’s hard work paid has paid off, with a commission to create and design an anti-racist training guide and workshop, presented by the graduate, for local marketing company Crystallised.

Laura Rothwell, Managing Director of Crystallised, said: “We’ve commissioned Chantal to devise and create a range of training materials to support organisations in their journey to building anti-racist structures and practices.

“The process of working with Chantal has been enlightening and inspiring, we’re hoping we can continue to work with her on future multi-media training and development for our clients.”

Chantal has also started working part time as Young Women’s Network Coordinator for The Angelou Centre in Newcastle. The Angelou Centre offers support for black and minority women, and is one of the few black-led women’s organisations on the North East.

Chantal graduates later this year

Chantal was supported to set up her business by the University’s DOSH (Development Office Scholarships) scheme, which helped her buy essential equipment which took her creativity to the next level.

The graduate’s business aims to provide professional audio production and design to commercial and third sector organisations, whilst providing work opportunities for women.

With the funding support of the University Chantal was able to buy equipment that led to her first commissions.

She said: “Without the funding I received I would be unable to offer a full audio production and design service. I have been able to purchase recoding equipment, an iMac and speaker monitors. This is integral to my business and it means that I will be able to take on any commissions.

“I’m very proud with the work I have done so far, and this funding has given me a massive opportunity to be successful in my endeavours.”

Like most start-up businesses Chantal has had to deal with the additional pressure of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As well as funding from the University’s Development Office Chantal was supported by the Enterprise Place, the University of Sunderland’s business support facility which offers students and graduates access to co-working office space in Hope Street Xchange, Sunderland’s centre for enterprise and innovation.

Jenny Westgate from the Enterprise place, said: “Chantal has engaged in accessing our workshops and one-to-one business and marketing advice which has helped her gain a much deeper understanding of what she needs to achieve with her new business.”

Chantal added: “I am beyond grateful to the University and I cannot express how thankful I am for all of their funding support. I urge any Sunderland student with a business idea to join The Enterprise Place and apply for a DOSH scholarship.”

To find out more about Chantal’s business go to Some of Chantal’s recent work, I Am A Ghost, interviewing women who have suffered abuse during lockdown, is available on the In Your Place podcast:

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