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Harper Adams to host 14th annual WiRE conference

Posted 2 April 2013

Organisations like WiRE, who are bringing talented women together to share knowledge and provide support to help them develop and grow their business ideas, are so crucial to making sure even more women in remote areas can realise their full potential

More and more women are running their own businesses, according to figures from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which show nearly 700,000 in 2011.

Fiona Davies, business manager at WiRE (Women in Rural Enterprise) based at Harper Adams University, said: “Increasingly, the three Rs – recession, redundancy and retirement – are encouraging women to think about self-employment.

“For them it is a chance to use their skills, expertise and passion to create and grow not just a successful business but also their perfect job, which fits their life and beliefs, generates a healthy income and grows into a business that they, and people like them, really want to work for.”

The figures are revealed ahead of the 14th annual WiRE Conference at Harper Adams on April 9 which will look at ways to start and grow a rural business.

The event will offer expert sessions aimed at encouraging and enabling businesswomen to make their business really work for them and guest speakers to help inspire delegates.

Minister for Women and Equalities, Jo Swinson, said: “Women are absolutely vital to our economic growth and we need to do all we can to ensure we are making the best of all they have to offer. But setting up a new business when you live in a rural area can be daunting – lack of confidence, isolation and limited access to business support can all deter women from getting on the entrepreneurial ladder.

“That’s why organisations like WiRE, who are bringing talented women together to share knowledge and provide support to help them develop and grow their business ideas, are so crucial to making sure even more women in remote areas can realise their full potential.

“The Government is providing a range of support for female entrepreneurs and removing barriers to women achieving their goals. This includes £1.6 million to support women’s enterprise in rural areas, access to over 15,000 business mentors, and we have set up the Women’s Business Council to advise on what can be done to maximise women’s contributions to future economic growth.”

The conference, which will run from 9am to 4pm, will feature a number of guest speakers including Anna Farmery, from www.engagingbrand.com, who is a social media guru and will focus on creating a brand, and Alison Howell, from www.foottrails.co.uk, which is a rural tourism business attracting guests from around the world to its award-winning walking holidays.

The event includes plenty of networking opportunities, WiRE member stands and a locally sourced lunch. Places are strictly limited and cost £60 for WiRE members and £80 for non-WiRE members. Book online at www.wireuk.org/events or call (01952) 815338.

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