There is nothing more empowering than surrounding yourself with like-minded people that support and encourage you, every step of the way. A variety of studies have identified the power of being part of the right crowd to accelerate your growth or achieve success. Women entrepreneurs have tapped into this mindset and created a number of networking groups across the UK to support other women in business.
It can be difficult to stay motivated in a world dominated by male leaders. Yet, being in a group of ambitious women can provide exactly the right dose of feminine energy and collective positivity to keep you going. Learning from each other, inspiring one another, and encouraging perseverance are only a few of the main perks of being in such a community.
Regardless of whether you’re from London, Yorkshire, Wales, or Scotland, you are most likely going to find a networking group in this blog, that will be just right for you.
- Why Join a Networking Group?
- Women in Business Network (WINB)
- Blooming Founders
- Northern Power Women
- Association of Scottish Businesswomen (ASB)
- Women in Business (in Northern Ireland)
- More Freelancing Tips
Networking groups often cost a bit of money to be a member. However, the cost is significantly outweighed by the benefits!
Women entrepreneurs benefit from networking groups because:
- They can share ideas with like-minded people
- There will be people who understand your challenges i.e., juggling motherhood and business
- Bouncing ideas with other business women helps develop your company prospects
- There’s the chance you’ll land word-of-mouth referrals from the connections you make
- It’s a safe space to thrive and have your voice heard
Membership groups often offer extra help for members, too. From legal advice to exclusive business insurance deals, you could save a lot of money by being a member. Costs for these groups also go on your annual tax return as an expense!
There are tons of other resources out there supporting self-employed women entrepreneurs, too. They’re often free to use and help you join part of a virtual community or learn useful business tips without in-person networking (which, let’s face it, is a bit limited right now!). Check out Lizzy Dening’s Out of Office newsletter, for example, for a bunch of helpful advice and support from like-minded women.
If a large network of women from a well-established group is what you’re after, WINB might just be the community for you. One of the biggest network groups (1,500 members and growing) in the UK, they offer a variety of services for members.
Since their launch in 2005, they’ve grown their network through smaller local groups around the UK and Ireland. They organise monthly meetings (currently online) structured around an agenda to help women grow their businesses. They also offer a variety of workshops (e.g. public speaking) and blogs on a wide range of topics and strategies.
While their annual membership starts at £240 per year, their stats reassure you about your investment. According to WINB, out of 110 women joining, the vast majority have increased their profits to 10 times the outlay. Remember, the cost of any networking group membership or attendance at events can be offset on your tax return, too.
Another great community with helpful resources for women entrepreneurs is Blooming Founders. They aim to enable growth for female-led businesses through education, fundraising, and networking opportunities. Although primarily based in London, Blooming Founders have adapted to the COVID-19 times with a series of online events. Other services that this network provides to support women entrepreneurs are:
- Signing up to be offered an intern to help with your workload
- A virtual office – for a professional image without the overheads
- 66 letters written by female founders from around the globe. They share their experiences, the lessons learnt and heir business insights
- Co-working and events space in Shoreditch
Depending on what type of service you’re interested in, the prices vary. Subscribing to the newsletter for useful info is entirely free. Join meet-ups and events are free or as cheap as £8, or enter the intern scheme for £250. Although some services may be out of your price range, you can still get a lot of value out of the Blooming Founder community.
If you’re from Wales and a fun, easy-going community of businesswomen is your cup of tea, then look no further than Spring. This networking group offers the opportunity to promote your business to large audiences, get to know like-minded women, stay up-to-date with the latest trend of the industry, and enjoy their informative events.
Meet like-minded women entrepreneurs on the first Tuesday of every month at 6pm. The speakers share their insightful experiences, while you can enjoy a delicious dinner. Spring offers these opportunities for female entrepreneurs for a yearly membership price of £115. Want to try it out first? A visitor membership is £15 for the month.
One of the most inspirational movements for celebrating and pushing gender diversity is Northern Power Women.
Be it by listening to their podcast (Ask The Hive), attending one of their events, or reading about their role models, there are many ways to learn from Northern Power Women. Additionally, this community also offers many resources for free, such as the “Research Pilot” book. The annual awards celebrate women in business across the North of England, and offer a great opportunity to boost your own brand as well as meet role models.
One of the most long-standing organisations for female entrepreneurs is the Association of Scottish Businesswomen.
Running since 1995, a revamp in 2012 saw their new vision with individual memberships for all business and professional women in Scotland. Unlike other similar groups, ASB offers more than networking and learning opportunities. ASB has an Annual Business Award and a program of national events. They also provide a mentoring scheme with Scotland’s most successful businesswomen. ASB’s variety of sponsors and partners also bring many added benefits and opportunities to their members.
Competitive fees make it an accessible group for both individuals and women entrepreneurs running larger businesses. Individual membership is £30 per year, whereas the corporate one (for businesses with over 10 employees) is £150 per year.
Women in Business Northern Ireland is the largest support group for female entrepreneurs in the region. In-person events, online webinars, and showcasing of members all offer great opportunities for Northern Irish women entrepreneurs to connect and thrive.
This community provides 4 different types of memberships (starting from £45 per year). They vary in price depending on the type of mentorship, skills, and networking opportunities you need. Their reliability is also assisted by the reputable partners they work with, such as Allstate Norther Ireland, Virgin Media Business, University of Belfast, etc.
We know that taking the leap to freelancing or setting up your own business is scary! That’s why we’ve created a bunch of resources for new and established self-employed people to use. Read these next!