Well listeners. Here we are with a post about another networking group just for women. I’m not actually sure I’m eligible as I only drink black coffee. Shhh. Don’t tell ’em…
When I first ventured into my brave new world of self-employment as AA Editorial ServicesI felt networking to be something of a necessary evil – and possibly subconsciously approached it accordingly. But I can now really see the value of it – and not just in terms of getting business. I’ve benefitted in ways more important to me even than that. Some months ago I joined Women Mean Bizand have felt my confidence slowly grow with that group.
Unlike Ladies who Latte that one is a membership group so a different sort of set up entirely. But I’ve definitely had a lot from it in all sorts of ways and have no regrets at all about the financial outlay involved. But anyway – back to LWL:
Ladies who Latte is described on its website as the fastest growing women’s network. It’s concept is simple: “We have over 30 FREE meetings every month where you simply turn up grab yourself a coffee and network. We have no speakers, no agenda, and no meeting fee.” So there’s nothing to pay at all – only the cost of a cup of coffee.
The Swindon group of this network had disappeared for a time it seems. However the lovely Aliz, owner of Wise Bookkeeping, is getting the group going again so today was the first meeting of the invigorated, full of beans (did you see what I did there?), Swindon branch of Ladies who Latte.
It was a lovely meeting and I really hope it goes from strength to strength. I’m certainly looking forward to the next one anyway!
I met some super people and some interesting businesses in particular this one: http://www.pennypost.org.uk Whilst it’s more of a community news website it’s not entirely dissimilar to Born again Swindonian. The site mostly covers West Berkshire, Wantage and Marlborough and touches on Swindon so I’m hoping to get some Swindon points of interest onto the site.
So, if you’re a women in business and you can pop along to Heelis on the first Tuesday of the month it would be great to see you.
Where and when is the next meeting: Tuesday 3rd November. 10-12md. At the cafe in Heelis – the National Trust building
So who are YEN? Good question. YEN are the new kids on the business block and are an informal group created with the intention of motivating, inspiring and supporting business owners and budding entrepreneurs between the ages of 16 and 35.
Members of YEN (Young Entrepreneurs Network) meet up informally over coffee or drinks every week, usually at the vibrant Baila Coffee & Vinyl in Old Town. Members can also continue conversations and share inspirational and informative links through the private Facebook group. Samantha explains “We’ve created a platform that brings young people together so they can achieve their goals and aspirations whilst having lots of fun and being surrounded by like-minded individuals.”
Set to launch at the beginning of September, YEN will have a subscription membership package featuring a bevy of bonuses. Amongst these will be: ‘free coffees at the regular informal meetings, shared ‘co-working space’ days, access to their collaborative expertise and continuous motivation & support. ‘
They’ve got lots of plans in the pipeline and have industry experts getting involved to offer inspirational talks and mentoring sessions.
There’ll also be quarterly social outings. Possibly on a charabang to Bangor with a crate of beer.* Though I suspect it would cost more than a pound now…
Anyway – now you know a bit about the YEN team it’s time, to paraphrase the intro of R4’s ‘The News Quiz’ – to meet the team:
Sam Whittingham – aka Little Miss Cakemaker
Marcus Lilley – FutrSocial
Emma Phipps – BeauTies
If you’ve a yen to know more about YEN and its founding fathers (and indeed mothers) you can:
When first I stuck my toe into the murky waters of self-employment with AA Editorial Services, I quickly realized the importance of business networking. I went to many Outset meetings (Outset Swindon are sadly no more due to the plug being pulled on their funding) and a variety of other networking groups. Some of which were free and some of which I paid for.
After a few months of this I took the plunge and joined Women Mean Biz. I won’t lie – pragmatics played a big part in my decision. As a non-driver location is crucial to me – any networking needs to be easily accessible. But that aside, after attending the group twice as a visitor, I felt it had a nice feel to it and that I could get plenty from it beyond actual work.
A small picture gallery from our most recent meeting:
Networking over lunch
Networking over lunch
And so it has proved. I have indeed had good quality referrals from it – but much more than that. The ladies in my group are a very supportive bunch and the business surgery part of the session is very useful.
Generally speaking I don’t find networking terribly easy and tend to view it as a necessary evil. Though now of course that reticence is easing thanks in part to WMB and I genuinely do look forward to the meetings now.
We meet on the first Friday of every month in the upstairs room at the Pig on the Hill – a pub in Swindon’s Old Town. Our networking is largely conducted over a two-course cooked lunch which we choose from the regular menu. Being all about the food I’m enjoying working my way through that.
What I like about it in particular is that one is never under any pressure – real or imagined – to bring referrals in to every meeting. I’ve visited other networking groups using that model and am not so comfortable with it. For me, I like that WMB is more informal in that aspect. Though referrals still come – simply, as one of the speakers in the video below put it, ‘more organically’.
So if you are a woman and you are in business in Swindon or its environs then we’d really love to meet you.
You can find out much more by visiting the website and Facebook page. Links to all social media are at the bottom of this post.
A little about Women Mean Biz:‘Join Women Mean Biz and you’re joining an established network of businesswomen and entrepreneurs working in all sorts of businesses from start-ups to established companies and large corporations. The only qualification you need to join is the desire to be successful in your business.
Each group meets once a month for a two-hour session over lunch, and all meetings follow the carefully developed WMB format. You’ll be given the opportunity to swap and share ideas, gain new contacts, build alliances and partnerships and get the support you need to drive your business forward.’
This YouTube clip shows all manner of folk pontificating about all sorts that’s Women Mean Biz related – what it means to them, what they’ve got from it and so on. 🙂
As a change from a post about an actual business this post is about a business networking group. I attend various business networking groups myself in my AA Editorial Services hat and am a member of Women mean Biz. This group though is aimed at the younger entrepreneur and business owner: JCI Swindon.
A new network for Young professionals and entrepreneurs was launched earlier this year and is now in its fifth month. Swindon Junior Chamber, which is part of a broader network Junior Chamber International (JCI), was launched with the support of Business West Swindon. The chamber also has the support of local organisations such as Thamesdown Speakers.
Swindon Junior Chamber, or JCI Swindon, is a group for professionals and entrepreneurs in their 20s and 30s who want to:
1) Build their leadership, business and presentation skills;
2) Raise their profile in Swindon and Internationally;
3) Create positive change in their community
4) Network professionally with like-minded individuals.
As a group they champion Swindon and its Businesses and Communities. They aim to create a special partnership with local organisations in order to create a more positive Swindon. Since beginning they’ve had workshops in leadership skills, an interactive negotiation skills workshop, project meetings, and a presence at the local Business Show.
Opportunities are present nationally and internationally too. JCI UK has a number of flagship workshops in Leadership, Marketing and Public Speaking. With JCI’s strong links with the major organisations such as the United Nations and the International Chamber of Commerce, members can attend high-profile events at the United Nations in New York or the European Union in Brussels.
So, what are the forthcoming opportunities to potential members in Swindon? On top of gaining knowledge through workshops, JCI offers the opportunities for its members to develop essential leadership and business skills. Through organising events, members develop their project management, team building, leadership and negotiation skills. Members also build relationships with other individuals from other organisations, and hence develop long-lasting professional relationships with other professionals and entrepreneurs. We are currently planning some high profile projects, which will be around cultural and business partnership. If you or your business or community want to get involved, then we want to hear from you.
If you are a professional or entrepreneur in your 20s or 30s, or you represent your business or communities, or even a coach, we want to hear from you. We meet at Jury’s Inn at 7pm on the 1st Thursday of each month. Feel free to come to our events and meetings. Otherwise, contact us on email@example.com to find out more on our events and projects.