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    Posted 5 February 2003

    THE ORGANISERS of the fourth national Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE) conference have said they expect a record attendance level at the event tomorrow.

    On Tuesday, February 4, with bookings still coming in, there were already 310 delegates signed up for the annual conference at Harper Adams University College, Shropshire. By the time the conference opens on February 6, organisers say that figure looks likely to be even higher.

    The conference will build on a successful twelve months in which the WiRE initiative has gone from strength to strength. A national membership scheme now boasts more than 700 rural entrepreneurs and a rapidly increasing program of seminars and events has taken place across the country.

    Feedback from WiRE members who have attended previous events has led to new additions to the format for this year’s national conference – building on the customary programme of workshops covering topics as diverse as E-commerce and PR, business displays and an array of inspirational speakers. This year’s conference will also include drop-in Question & Answer sessions, led by experts on topics such as IT, Business Basics and Rural Grants & Aid, and several opportunities to network.

    Conference speakers will include Dr Samantha Hardy, a Senior Consultant for Aurora Gender Capital Management and a high profile campaigner for gender equality for the last ten years. Dr Hardy’s role includes advising companies on attracting, retaining and advancing female employees and she is one of Europe’s leading experts on gender capital and diversity.

    Fay Easton, Town Centre Manager for the historic, market town of Shrewsbury, will join Dr Hardy on the panel of speakers, along with Kate Shropshire and Dorothy Wightman, both of whom have built on their rural backgrounds to launch successful businesses.

    Kate Shropshire is the brainchild of Field 2 Kitchen; a family run business specialising in growing and harvesting seasonal vegetables and salads to provide customers with the freshest possible produce.

    For Dorothy Wightman, an interest in sewing has now developed into a successful Fine Furnishings business run from a purpose-built studio and showroom in a converted barn in Cumbria.

    The WiRE conference is a one-day event taking place at Harper Adams University College, near Newport, Shropshire, on Thursday, February 6, 2003. For further information, please call +44 (0) 1952 815 451, E-mail: or log on to the web-site:


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