Last Friday I was part of a group of women who belong to the WiRE (Women in Rural Enterprise) network who met minister for business Mark Prisk in his constituency Bishops Stortford. It was a fascinating day.
The meeting was held to demonstrate to the minister how effective networks can be in supporting women in business and demonstrate the role WiRE plays in supporting rural businesswomen. As well as running yours2share, I am also the network leader for WiRE Norwich and I was one of the speakers, together with WiRE members Hanne Grice of Walk the Dog and Rebecca Rayner of Glebe Farm.
Several WiRE members I know well were also there with stands illustrating the range of business products and services in the rural community. They included Penny Lindop of Penny Lindop Designs, Gabriella Buckingham of MooBaaCluck, Claire Martinsen of Breckland Orchard soft drinks, Kate Elliott of Active Marketing and Design, and Jane Pennington of Stone-Me jewellery.
Our short presentations lead the room into a great debate about how to cost effectively help small businesses and businesswomen. Our view is that organisations like WiRE are an essential component of the Big Society – we are all volunteers except from a very small central team. However collectively the WiRE networks provide considerable support and a path for businesswomen to share knowledge and help each other.