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Judy Leung - Female Entrepreneur and Founder of Sweqlink

“My advice to anyone sitting on the fence about joining a HOST programme is to just go for it!”

Meet Judy Leung who successfully completed HOST’s FreelanceHER 100 programme and hasn’t looked back.  Prior to completing the programme, Judy was just beginning to establish herself as an entrepreneur and learning about the start-up ecosystem. Today, armed with greater knowledge and new skills and renewed confidence she has successfully set up and launched Sweqlink – the marketplace for sweat equity investment opportunities. It helps new founders find work-for-equity talent for their start-ups, while opening up investment opportunities to anyone interested in trading their time and expertise for start-up equity.

Judy explains how the programme helped her realise her ambitions:When I came across FreelanceHER 100, I was very new to entrepreneurship – it wasn’t something you could study back when I was a student and I had no formal business education. What appealed to me about FreelanceHER 100 was the holistic approach they took and that they recognised the additional challenges that women face when starting their business on a normal day, let alone during a pandemic. The programme was specifically developed to help support female entrepreneurship during this difficult time.”

So, what did the programmes entail? “FreelanceHER 100 was a 12 week programme consisting of weekly masterclass and webinar sessions covering topics from mindset to business model canvas and income diversity. We also had regular mentoring sessions in smaller groups so we could develop the week’s topic under the guidance of our programme group mentor.”

As the FreelanceHER 100 programme came to a close, Jude had a serendipitous meeting with HOST programme director, Bella Copland, who suggested she would benefit from the follow-up HOST 50 programme.

“It sounded like the perfect follow-on programme for me. Bella explained it would further develop my knowledge in tech start-up entrepreneurship and keep me accountable towards my goals. It also meant I could use the co-working space on offer since lockdown was beginning to ease.”

HOST 50 is a fully funded programme, similar to FreelanceHER 100, offering masterclass and webinar sessions but with a focus on start-up enterprises. Judy adds: “We learnt about topics such as funding, pitching and protecting IP. We also had weekly accountability sessions to ensure we achieved the goals we set ourselves as well as access to co-working space at HOST.”

Being based at MediaCity also gave Judy the platform to make connections. She said: “I met a lot of great contacts through the events programme held at MediaCity. Networking is an integral part of the programmes, and it really helped me to expand my network and presented me with opportunities that I might not have come across otherwise. I also made some great friends along the way, who I still keep in touch with on a regular basis.”

For those hesitating to sign up to a programme like FreelanceHER 100 and HOST 50 Jude has some advice: “My advice to anyone sitting on the fence about joining a programme would be to think about what you’re looking to get out of it and will it help you achieve your goals? Think about how much time and effort you’re realistically going to be able to commit – participating within the community is key to getting the most out of programmes like these.”

Judy’s leap of faith paid off and for those thinking about making a change, Jude’s final word is: “Just go for it!”

If you’re interested in finding out more about HOST’s programmes and how they can support you on your business journey, get in touch here.


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